Failure to learn from past sees Borders nurse struck off again

The Borders General Hospital at Melrose.
The Borders General Hospital at Melrose.

A nurse found to have mistreated patients and wrongly administered drugs has been struck off the medical register again.

It’s the second time Matthew McCardle, of Galashiels, has been banned from practising at the Borders General Hospital in Melrose.

In 2009, he was stuck off for similar offences, but he returned to the wards in 2015, taking up a staff nurse’s post within the medical assessment unit at the hospital in March 2016.

However, at a Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing last week, he was struck off again.

Allegations that between June and October 2017, Mr McCardle wrongly administering drugs, was rude to the wife of a dying patient and was confrontational toward a colleague were referred to the council in January 2018.

And last week, its fitness to practise committee found him guilty of 13 of 19 charges relating to his conduct and nursing practice.

It found that during October 2017 he was involved in three incidents involving the administering of medication to patients.

They included not checking the correct prescription of a blood-pressure drug being administered, wrongly diluting an antibiotic drug and failing to change a leaking bag of anti-overdose treatment about to be given to another patient.

The panel said: “These errors related to fundamental clinical nursing skills in respect of which Mr McCardle had completed training.

“Due to the repetitive nature of the errors within a short period of time, there was a significant potential for serious harm.

“There was nothing to indicate Mr McCardle had learnt from previous incidents.”

At the same time, Mr McCardle also displayed unacceptable behaviour towards staff, patients and visitors.

One colleague told the hearing in Edinburgh that she had been left frightened by his aggressive behaviour, and a further complaint told of how he had been unprofessional and abrupt with the wife of a dying patient.

The council’s case presenter, Charles Drinnan, said: “Mr McCardle’s behaviour towards a patient’s relative and to a colleague in terms of his lack of empathy and aggressive and intimidating behaviour had brought the profession into disrepute.”

The council hearing further criticised an apparent failure to learn from mistakes, with Mr Drinnan adding: “The reflective piece provided for this hearing and the reflective piece provided for Mr McCardle’s restoration hearing in 2015 are similar in nature.

“He has expressed some regret about what has happened and has admitted some of his errors, but the panel considered he has also made excuses and attempted to justify his actions rather than take ownership of his mistakes.”

He suggested that Mr McCardle should have demonstrated an “extra layer of care” given his previous striking-off order.

Mr McCardle did not attend the hearing, at which eight witnesses gave evidence, and he has 28 days to appeal against its decision.

An NHS Borders spokeswoman said: “We take the safety of both our staff and patients very seriously, and any cases of misconduct are dealt with appropriately in line with policies.

“NHS Borders referred Mr McCardle to the Nursing and Midwifery Council and is satisfied with the outcome.

“Mr McCardle is no longer an employee of the board.”