A nurse who fell asleep three times on night shifts within days of each other has been suspended for six months.

Laura Ellison, who worked at the Middletown Grange care home in Hailey, near Witney, was spotted by a colleague with her head resting on two care plans asleep on March 12, 2018.

Four days later on March 16 during another night shift a colleague found her asleep on a sofa twice.

At a hearing in September, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel said that Ms Ellison should be given a chance to change her behaviour in the future.

On the first occasion, a colleague said she found Ms Ellison asleep at about 4am as she went to look for staff to respond to an emergency.

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In a witness statement she said: "I heard one resident was shouting 'see, see, see' and was pointing towards the treatment room and another resident was shouting for help. I went to find Laura who was the registered nurse responsible for these residents. I found Laura in the nurse’s station with her head resting on two care plans asleep."

She woke Ms Ellison up and they returned to work.

On Friday March 16, the pair were working the night shift again when Ms Ellison was found "with her feet up on the sofa waking up" in the lounge at about 1.30am.

Her colleague said she asked where the nurse was and was told she was in the lounge.

"I went to the lounge and found it pitch black. I called out and then heard a voice and saw Laura with her feet up on the sofa waking up."

Then at about 3am the colleague said she found her asleep again on the sofa and this time took a photo of her.

The NMC panel said Ms Ellison had later told her employers that she had "issues in her personal life" and had been tired.

She was later given a final written warning at a disciplinary hearing.

Ms Ellison did not appear in front of the NMC panel and was not represented.

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The panel had no doubt that Miss Ellison’s actions had exposed vulnerable residents in her care to a risk of significant harm.

But it concluded that although there had been "a clear breach of a fundamental tenet" of nursing, she still "should be afforded the opportunity to demonstrate that she understands the severity of her actions to a future reviewing panel."


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This story was written by Miranda Norris, she joined the team in 2021 and covers news across Oxfordshire as well as news from Witney.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Miranda.Norris@newsquest.co.uk. Or find her on Twitter: @Mirandajnorris

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