A hospital trust employee who falsified drug records in order to ‘steal’ and self-administer codeine in 2012 has been voluntarily removed from the heath and care register.
Rebecca Overton-Applebee, a former operating department practictioner at Gloucestershire Hosptial NHS Foundation Trust, received six years of extended suspension orders and has now had her name removed from the register with immediate effect.
Miss Overton-Applebee also received a caution for theft by employee of 4 x 30mg of codeine from Gloucestershire Constabulary on March 7, 2012, according to a health and care professions tribunal service report.
Codeine is a mild painkiller commonly used to treat pain after an operation, and is recommended not to be used over long periods as it has an “addictive property”.
According to a report, Miss Overton-Applebee falsified records in the controlled drugs book to show that patients had received codeine when they had not on at least seven occasions during her time as an operating department practitioner in 2012, and in doing so she “stole” and self-administered the painkiller.
In 2018 a panel found that Miss Overton-Applebee’s written reflective piece was “genuine and powerful and demonstrated that she had developed considerable insight and remorse into her actions and her dishonesty”.
Last month the tribunal service’s conduct and competence committee found that despite Miss Overton-Applebee’s displayed “some remorse and had made some inroads to remediate”, her “efforts have fallen far short of what would be required to fully remediate her position”.
The report said: “The Panel determined that the Registrant is still impaired, albeit that she has taken some steps to overcome her problems in the face of severe personal problems. In that process, the Panel determined that the Registrant had displayed some genuine remorse and had made some inroads to remediate.
“However, in the Panel’s opinion, the Registrant’s efforts have fallen far short of what would be required to fully remediate her position and it has come after too many years (nearly six years, and after seven previous Reviews), during which time it is clear that she has been preoccupied with her infant’s health conditions.”
The panel juged a striking off order would have been “disproportianate, unfair and punitive”, adding a voluntary removal agreement “is a better alternative that has the same outcome and would also allow the principle of fairness and compassion to reflect the Registrant’s own efforts to try to overcome her problems.”