Hospital worker struck off after test results faked

News on-line 24-hours a day.
News on-line 24-hours a day.
Have your say

A SCIENTIST who put Sheffield patients at risk by falsifying the results of medical tests to save just three minutes has been struck off.

Nira Greenacre, a biomedical scientist at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, was found guilty of ‘callous and serious wrongdoing’ and was banned from working in healthcare.

Greenacre made up records to show she had carried out tests she never actually completed, a hearing of the Health Professions Council’s conduct and competence committee found.

Panel chair Claire Reggiori said: “Plainly the public is entitled to expect that biomedical scientists will conduct tests properly and record their results correctly and not simply make data up to save time.

“The registrant’s behaviour fell well below that expected of a registered professional.”

The committee found Greenacre, who was working in the Hallamshire’s Manual Endocrinology Department, carried out osmolality tests once rather than twice. The tests gauge the body’s water balance and the results are used to diagnose and treat patients.

Greenacre then falsified the results to cover her tracks.

Greenacre’s boss Permijt Wilson began to check her work in July 2009 after she became concerned about slipping standards and noticed some samples had not been double tested in the osmometer but two readings had been recorded.

When Greenacre was confronted by laboratory manager Martin Loxley she confessed she had done it to save time. She was sacked for gross misconduct some weeks later.

The HPC conduct committee’s report said: “The misconduct here is serious. Patients were put at risk and had to be re-tested.

“Public confidence in the profession must be undermined by such callous and serious wrongdoing.”

It added: “The public are entitled to expect that biomedical scientists conduct tests expeditiously and conscientiously and not falsify results in order to save, what is estimated to be, three minutes.”

Greenacre, who had worked at the Hallamshire for 11 years, since she qualified in 1998, refused to attend the committee hearing, which was held in her absence.

The report said: “The panel has not heard any expressions of regret, remorse or anything to indicate insight into what she has done wrong.

“A biomedical scientist plays a crucial role in the care of patients. Other health professionals rely upon their results in order to diagnose and treat patients.

“Results which have been falsified can pose a serious threat to individual patients.”

Mike Richmond, medical director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “A full investigation was launched as soon as it was alleged, by a senior member of staff, that a scientist had on some occasions performed an osmolality test once rather than twice.

“This test helps evaluate the body’s water balance and its ability to produce and concentrate urine.

Despite the HPC’s insistence Greenacre put patients at risk, Mr Richmond played down the potential impact of her actions.

He said: “The impact on a patient’s care would have been minimal by not having the second test because these results would not have been used in isolation either to diagnose or treat a patient.”