Royal Perth Hospital nurse suspended for stealing fentanyl in used syringes

Stock image.
Stock image.

A REGISTERED nurse from Royal Perth Hospital (RPH) has been suspended for eight months for stealing the powerful opioid fentanyl for personal use.

Barry Dickinson admitted he removed syringes containing fentanyl and the sedative midazolam from the sharps container while working on the Gastroenterology Day Ward in April and May 2015.

He said he was ashamed he had acted “foolishly”.

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A RPH investigation into the nurse’s conduct found Dickinson in breach of the Health Department’s misconduct policy and reprimanded him with a warning.

The investigation also found evidence to suggest Dickinson put a patient’s safety and wellbeing at risk after he substituted saline for Fentanyl due to be administered to a patient undergoing surgery in September 2015.

He said he chose to “trial” Fentanyl as “he had noted that patients would often describe an increased sense of wellbeing upon waking from their procedures”.

The matter was heard in the State Administrative Tribunal on May 29, where Dickinson was suspended and ordered to pay $4000 in costs.

Strict conditions were also placed – including drug testing should the nurse return to work.

Dickinson has not worked as a nurse since November 2015.

A Corruption and Crime Commission report last month revealed the theft and misuse of dangerous drugs was an ongoing problem in WA hospitals.

The report found that 47 per cent – 183 out of 390 – notifications were from Royal Perth Hospital (RPH), Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH) and Fremantle Hospital (FH).

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