A HEREFORD nurse repeatedly stole opiate drugs from the County Hospital, despite a previous police caution for the same offence.

Charlotte Anne Skyrme made full admissions to three charges when she appeared before the Nursing and Midwifery Council's fitness to practice committee in June.

The hearing, which was held in private, was told that Skyrme, who was working as a registered nurse in Hereford County Hospital's Emergency Department, had stolen opiate painkiller Tramadol for her own personal use on February 17, 2019, March 24, 2019, and May 3, 2019.

Skyrme had previously been suspended by the NMC after receiving a police caution for stealing medication from the hospital in December 2015, the hearing was told, returning to practice at Wye Valley NHS Trust in 2017.

But concerns were raised by the hospital's pharmacy department in May 2019, and she was moved to a non-clinical role after an audit was carried out on the emergency department's drugs.

Skyrme was dismissed for gross misconduct in October 2019, while the NMC received a referral from the matron of the emergency department alleging that she had repeatedly stolen Tramadol.

The NMC panel said her actions had fallen significantly short of the standards expected of a registered nurse, and that honestly is the bedrock of the nursing profession.

They said that Skyrme had stolen a "significant quantity" of drugs and that her actions were neither impulsive nor a one-off, as she had stolen on three separate occasions in 2019 and as it was a repetition of her dishonest behaviour of 2015.

The panel said that although no patients were directly harmed, her actions had depleted the supply of prescribed drugs for patients, creating a potential for harm, and that despite her taking positive steps and developing insight as to why what she had done was wrong, her fitness to practice is currently impaired.


Skyrme, who the panel heard needed pain management and had been taking prescribed medication at the time, had written a reflective statement indicating she had stopped taking Tramadol in August 2020, but a drug analysis revealed evidence of the prescription drug in her system in November that year, for which she had not provided an explanation.

Positive testimonials were provided to the panel by Skyrme, which the NMC said highlighted her many good qualities and her patient care, while she had demonstrated "impressive insight and remorse during previous NMC proceedings".

But, the panel said, they had serious concerns about her honesty and integrity and that the repetition of her misconduct was indicative of a significant attitudinal problem.

The panel said they had decided to make a striking-off order, with an interim suspension order imposed for a period of 18 months to allow for any potential appeal to be made and determined.

A Wye Valley NHS Trust spokesperson said: “The trust expects the highest standards of professionalism from its staff. The staff member in question was dismissed from employment and reported to the professional regulators (NMC) when the thefts were discovered.

“Honesty is the bedrock of the nursing profession and it’s essential that the public has confidence and trust in those caring for them and their loved ones. WVT is proud of its caring and compassionate staff and will do all it can to uphold high professional standards.”