Nurse struck off after claiming to have earned practitioner degree from University of Suffolk

The University of Suffolk, Waterfron Campus in Ipswich.

The University of Suffolk, Waterfron Campus in Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

A woman who worked as a nurse for 32 years has been struck off after falsely claiming to have received medical qualifications from the University of Suffolk.

Susan Diggines placed patients at risk of harm by practising without the required professional qualifications, a misconduct hearing chaired by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) heard last week.

While working for the Suffolk GP Federation, she submitted forged letters and CVs incorrectly stating that she had received a nurse practitioner degree from the University of Suffolk in 2008.

When applying for the above job, she submitted a CV indicating she had received a ‘non-medical’ independent and ‘supplementary prescribing’ qualification from the university when she had not.

Later in her career she worked as an independent nurse and supplementary prescriber – handing out large numbers of prescriptions to patients despite not holding the correct medical qualifications.

The NMC panel heard Mrs Diggines’ dishonesty – which included misleading her employer with forged documents to cover up her actions – spanned over a three-year period.

Represented by Monwara Shah, the NMC found she had continued to prescribe medication until suspended by her employer – despite twice being told not to.

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But the panel was satisfied that none of Mrs Diggines’ actions were driven by an intention to put patients at risk of harm.

Although her actions were found to have represented “significant professional failings for a registered nurse”, she did not make any excuses for her behaviour and chose to remove herself from clinical practice.

Summing up the proceedings, a report compiled after the hearing states: “These acts of dishonesty clearly breach the fundamental tenets of honesty, integrity and openness on the part of a registered nurse and Mrs Diggines’ behaviour demonstrated clear failures in her duty to uphold the reputation of her profession at all times.”

Ms Shah asked the panel to consider an interim suspension order of 18 months to cover the possibility of an appeal being made within a 28-day period.

It accepted, and Mrs Diggines was handed a striking off order and an interim suspension order of 18 months.