Nurse suspended after stealing £4,000 from Stevenage school’s PTA

Nurse Ruth Sanderson has been suspended for 12 months.

Nurse Ruth Sanderson has been suspended for 12 months. - Credit: Archant

A nurse has been suspended after stealing £4,000 from a school’s parent teacher association.

Ruth Sanderson – of Lingfield Road in Stevenage – was elected treasurer of the PTA for the town’s Martins Wood Primary School in November 2009, making her responsible for their bank account and money gained from fundraising events.

The PTA account dwindled from £4,134 when Sanderson was elected to £123 two years later, following a series of withdrawals.

She paid £1,001 into the account in July 2011 – the only cash deposit she made over the four years she was treasurer.

PTA members became concerned when she failed to attend meetings and failed to provide copies of bank statements when requested. The PTA was unable to buy £2,000 of books due to a lack of funds.

A bounced cheque led to the police being called and Sanderson – a bed manager at Lister Hospital in Stevenage – was arrested in November 2013.

She pleaded guilty to theft and was sentenced to 12 months in prison – suspended for 24 months – and given a six-month curfew. She was also ordered to pay compensation and costs totalling £4,440.

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On Thursday, the Nursing and Midwifery Council suspended her for 12 months following a hearing which concluded that her ‘fitness to practise is impaired’.

The judgment said: “The panel find that through your conviction relating to dishonest actions you breached a fundamental tenet of the nursing profession and brought the profession into disrepute. It considered that the seriousness of your dishonesty is heightened by the fact you were in a position of trust.

“Nurses must make sure their conduct at all times justifies both their patients’ and the public’s trust in the profession.”

Sanderson, who was in difficult financial and personal circumstances at the time, said she ‘had been very silly’ and regretted her actions. She has now fully repaid the PTA.

She said she hoped her nursing career had not been completely ruined, with hopes of becoming a Macmillan nurse.

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