A North nurse who swindled a friend and wok colleague out of 4,600 of her savings after falling into debt has lot her job and been suspended by her professional body, reports the Press and Journal today.
Gayle Magennis, who was a night nurse practitioner at Caithness General Hospital, was ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work after she admitted stealing from her friend between March and June.
The 31-year-old, who was suspended at the end of June, was given eight months to carry out the work when she was sentenced at Wick Sheriff Court in September. She was dismissed for "gross midconduct" in October, however she is currently appealing her dismissal. Ms Magennis, of 76 Seaforth Avenue, Wick, was also reported to the Nursing and Midwifery Council which has now imposed an interim suspension for 18 months to allow it to conduct a proper investigation.
The body's conduct and competence committee heard that Ms Magennis committed the offence because she got into debt as a result of pay day loans and that although she was now receiving debt management help, she still owed around 7000. A report of the hearing states that an internal investigation was carried out into her conviction and allegations that she left the hospital premises while on duty without notifying the night sister, to access her colleagues savings account. This resulted in her dismissal.
Simon Walter representing the NMC, called for an interim suspension "to protect the public so that potential vulnerable patients and colleague are not exposed to this risk". Ms Magennis who was not at the hearing was represented by Elena McLachlan who said her client "sincerely regretted her actions" and their impact on her family, former employers and her colleague and friend from whom the money was taken. She said Ms Magennis accepted that her actions were "very serious" but claimed they happened during "a single period of difficulty at a time when she was under significant stress" and added that her "terrible judgement" would not be repeated.
Ms Magennis could not be contact for comment yesterday.