Prison nurse drug smug­gler is struck off

The Chronicle - - News -

A FOR­MER prison nurse who was caught smug­gling Spice into an­other jail has been struck off.

Elsie Wat­son was work­ing as a men­tal health nurse at HMP Durham in Au­gust 2016 when she was caught with the psy­choac­tive drug while vis­it­ing her grand­son at HMP Holme House, in Stock­ton.

Wat­son, from Sea­ham, County Durham, was jailed as one of Britain’s old­est drug smug­glers last year when a judge locked her up for six months.

Judge Stephen Ashurst gave the then-68-year-old a warn­ing about the dan­ger­ous ef­fects of Spice on both pris­on­ers and prison staff, which he said she “well knew”.

Now, a Nurs­ing and Mid­wifery Coun­cil (NMC) panel has ruled Wat­son should be per­ma­nently re­moved from the nurs­ing reg­is­ter fol­low­ing her con­vic­tion for pos­sess­ing a psy­choac­tive sub­stance with in­tent to sup­ply.

At the time of the of­fence she had been work­ing at HMP Durham for 29 years.

De­spite ac­knowl­edg­ing the strik­ing off or­der “would mark an un­for­tu­nate end to Miss Wat­son’s long nurs­ing ca­reer”, the NMC panel ruled is was the “ap­pro­pri­ate and pro­por­tion­ate re­sponse”.

A re­port of the hear­ing said: “In the panel’s judg­ment, the se­ri­ous­ness of Miss Wat­son’s ac­tions was ex­ac­er­bated by her role as psy­chi­atric nurse and her knowl­edge of work­ing for many years in a prison en­vi­ron­ment.

“Miss Wat­son would have known the ef­fect of Spice on in­mates and col­leagues.”

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