AN experienced practice nurse who put women at risk from cervical cancer by delaying tests and falsifying records in blunders affecting at least 16 patients has been struck off the register.

Karen Boyle lied about carrying out smear tests on patients treated at the Strathcalder Practice in East Kilbride, based at the Alison Lea Medical Centre.

An inquiry looked at 35 patients treated by the nurse between January 2016 and February last year and in the case of 16 women, clinical records were logged suggesting a smear had had been taken, “but no result was subsequently identified.”

An inquiry concluded that the tests had either not been sent or had been labelled incorrectly and were not identifiable.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council said the nurse’s actions had put women at risk by potentially “delaying detecting pre-cancerous cells at an earlier date which could have delayed treatment to patients.”

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In one incident a patient turned up for a smear but left the surgery before it was carried out. The nurse recorded that she had carried out the test and falsified clinical results.

In another case, a woman attended for a post-natal smear test and was told to return 12 weeks later but her records were updated saying the procedure had been carried out.

Women were also through the stress of repeat smear tests because they were told that ‘insufficient cells’ had been obtained to give an accurate result.

However an inquiry found the nurse had not actually sent the tests to the laboratory - it is also standard procedure for the lab to contact a patient directly if the test has to be re-done.

“Mrs Boyle had given the misleading explanations that insufficient cells had been taken on the patients’ first smears and therefore the tests had to be repeated.

“Instead of being honest and transparent with the patients, she fabricated a reason for recalling the patients.”

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Mrs Boyle was said to be an experienced tester, “who would be familiar with the correct procedures, guidance and policies in relation to smear taking.”

The practice nurse resigned on February 8 last year after a full investigation was launched by a consultant in Public Health Medicine at NHS Lanarkshire.

The nurse was struck off the register at a recent hearing by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

The NMC said: “Mrs Boyle’s actions were not isolated, but represented a repeated and systematic course of conduct, over a period of time.

“The panel determined that fellow professionals would consider Mrs Boyle’s actions in relation to the charges found proved, deplorable.”

Prior to joining the practice in 2016, Mrs Boyle had previously worked at a practice in Greater Glasgow area for 14 years.

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