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Ex-health board worker struck off nursing register for misconduct and dishonesty

| Written by Neil Riddell

A WOMAN has been struck off the Nursing and Midwifery Council register for plagiarism, concealing data and dishonesty over a sustained period of time when she was a senior NHS Shetland nurse, it has emerged.

Christina Jane Bokor-Ingram – who resigned from NHS Shetland last year before internal disciplinary action could be taken – was declared unfit to practice at a meeting of the NMC’s conduct and competence committee in London on 29 June.

The charges related largely to her conduct in the summer of 2015. She was found to have submitted academic work to the University of Dundee that “incorrectly represented the work of others as your own”.

In addition, while working in the role of senior infection control nurse for NHS Shetland between July and September of that year, she provided incorrect information to the health board in relation to infection control advice and compliance.

She submitted data suggesting she had performed infection control audits when that was not the case. Her conduct was ruled to be dishonest in that she “knew the information and advice provided was not accurate and you intended to conceal lower than required compliance rates from NHS Shetland”.

In February this year Mrs Bokor-Ingram admitted all of the charges. In light of that, the NMC committee ruled, her fitness to practice had been compromised by her misconduct.

The panel ruled that charges were of a “serious nature, and further exacerbated by extensive and continuing dishonesty”, and her misconduct fell “seriously short of the conduct and standards expected of a nurse and would be regarded as deplorable by her fellow practicioners”.

Mrs Bokor-Ingram “made deliberate attempts to deceive others and misrepresented data which prevented corrective action being taken when needed”.

Her actions put patients at “unwarranted risk of harm”. She made early admissions of guilt in relation to her academic work, but “sought to conceal the destruction and concealment of audit data from her employer, namely by deleting emails and being evasive during the trust’s investigation, for a substantive period of time”.

Although no actual harm was caused to patients, and Mrs Bokor-Ingram had been suffering from ill health, the panel concluded there were “no exceptional circumstances” to justify taking no action on her registration as a nurse given the seriousness of her misconduct.

An interim 18-month suspension has been imposed to allow Mrs Bokor-Ingram the opportunity to appeal. If she chooses not to do so, she will be struck off the nurses’ register 28 days after the panel’s decision is sent to her.

Mrs Bokor-Ingram, who is the wife of joint SIC/NHS director of community health and social care Simon Bokor-Ingram, resigned from her NHS Shetland post in 2016 before a formal disciplinary hearing could be held.

That hearing had been due to take place after a formal investigation identified “a number of important inconsistencies”, with audit compliance data fabricated and “evidence of misrepresentation of advice originally provided by others”.

A “capability support plan” had been put in place for Mrs Bokor-Ingram on 21 September 2015 to “ensure her professional advice was sound and evidence-based”.

She was absent from work through sickness between October that year and March 2016 during which time “a number of further concerns were raised with regards alleged inconsistencies with infection control compliance audit data” as well as concerns about the quality of advice she had provided.

NHS Shetland chief executive Ralph Roberts said the health board "will not comment on individual staffing issues".

The health board said it had “robust arrangements in place” to monitor infection control and standards of cleanliness in the Gilbert Bain Hospital.

The results of its infection control audits are “not reliant on the interpretation of a single individual” and three unannounced, external inspections in the last 12 months found that there was good compliance with infection control procedures across the hospital.

NHS Shetland director of nursing and acute services Kathleen Carolan said: “I would like to reassure patients and families that we have high standards of cleanliness across our wards and departments.

“Staff maintain all infection control precautions appropriately as demonstrated by the recent inspections at the Gilbert Bain Hospital.”

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