A Dundee nurse has been sacked after she was caught snooping on private medical records without clinical justification.
Lorraine McIntosh, a former night practitioner at Ninewells Hospital, admitted accessing the records of her colleagues and her own family 28 times over a three-year period.
Ms McIntosh, a registered nurse for more than 30 years, initially told her boss at a disciplinary hearing that she was “being nosey” but later said her judgement had been “clouded”.
Her actions were deemed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council to have amounted to misconduct. The NMC slammed them as “dishonest”, saying that they risked exposing patients to “physical and psychological harm”.
Ms McIntosh “inappropriately” accessed records between August 2012 and March 2015.
The revelations came to light after the head of nursing at Ninewells received an email in January 2015 voicing concerns Ms McIntosh had accessed a colleague’s blood test results. In April, further concerns were raised about discussions of blood tests and a probe was launched.
An audit by NHS Tayside found Ms McIntosh had used the IT system to access patient records 28 times.
These included three of Ms McIntosh’s colleagues, her husband, two sisters, her brother and nine other patients without clinical justification.
At a disciplinary hearing in September 2015, Ms McIntosh admitted accessing the records and was sacked.
Ms McIntosh faced an NMC panel in Edinburgh, which described her as “guarded”.
The panel did, however, believe Ms McIntosh was “remorseful and ashamed”.
She was handed an interim suspension of 18 months to allow her to appeal. If no appeal is made, this will be replaced by a nine-month suspension.
A report said: “While it is recorded that you accepted, at one stage, that you had accessed records because you were ‘being nosey’ you no longer accept this was the reason for your conduct.
“You explained that while you said this at a disciplinary hearing on September 9 2015, you made this admission under pressure.
“In live evidence, you were unable to provide precise details explaining why you accessed any particular record.
“The panel found that your actions did fall seriously short of the conduct and standards expected of a registered nurse and amounted to misconduct.
“The panel noted that your actions exposed patients to a risk of physical and psychological harm and your dishonesty was repeated.”
McIntosh declined to comment when approached by the Tele.
An NHS Tayside spokeswoman said: “This person no longer works for NHS Tayside.”