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MUR irregularities lead to three-month suspension

By news team

A pharmacist who recorded a number of medicines use reviews that did not take place, and who created false records of some that did, has been suspended from the Register for three months by order of the fitness-to-practise committee of the General Pharmaceutical Council.

Eleisha Watson (registration number 2060846) appeared before the committee on 3 August 2012.  She was represented by Graham Southall-Edwards, of the Pharmacists Defence Association.

Safia Iman, case manager advocate, appeared on behalf of the GPhC.

The committee heard that, on 13 August 2009, while Mrs Watson was employed by Boots, she had been interviewed by the company about 113 MURs that had been recorded as having been carried out so far for that year at the branch. Mrs Watson had maintained that the number was accurate, even though there were no records to support it. She said that she had many of the records at home and later produced some partially completed records. MRs Watson was suspended and, a few days later, she handed in a further 45 records. But when Boots indicated that it was going to check them Mrs Watson admitted that the patients named would not confirm that they had undergone the reviews. She said that she had created these forms from a blank pad that she had taken home with her and that they were not genuine. She then resigned from the company.

There was no suggestion that Mrs Watson had stood to gain financially from what she did. She received no bonus for the MURs that she claimed to have carried out, saying that she had done it because she had felt under enormous pressure to carry out an unrealistic number of MURs. She also said that she had experienced difficulties in completing her work and that she had falsified the records because she was afraid of appearing to fall short, was reluctant to admit that she could not cope and felt unable to ask for help from her employer.

Giving the committee's decision, the chairman, Christopher Gibson, QC, referred to a number of aggravating features of the case. There was dishonesty and an abuse of trust. The misconduct had taken place over a period of months, and there was an attempt to conceal wrongdoing by creating false records.

However, Mrs Watson had expressed deep regret and shame for what she did and contended that her dishonest actions at Boots were not a reflection of her character. She was now working as a community pharmacist without management responsibility.

The chairman, in finding Mrs Watson's fitness to practise impaired, said that the committee had not found that she had been put under any unfair or improper pressure by Boots, which expected no more of her than was reasonable for a competent and effective pharmacist. "But we find that she did perceive that she was under pressure to deliver more MURs than she felt was realistically possible. More importantly, she was young and inexperienced, and embarking on management responsibilities for which she was unprepared at the time and perhaps unsuited," he said.

Ordering Mrs Watson's suspension from the Register for three months, the chairman concluded: "We have considered this matter with great care, and we have been concerned that the subject of this case is initial dishonesty over a period of time in falsifying MUR records, then making a short-lived attempt, but an attempt nevertheless, to conceal the misconduct by creating false documents. In this situation, we consider that it would be an unusual case in which a registrant would escape removal from the Register or a lengthy suspension. However, we believe that this is an unusual case. . . . We believe we can accept that these actions were out of character and do not reflect Mrs Watson's true nature, which is that of a competent, hard-working and basically honest community pharmacist."



Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11110192

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