Baby's records 'falsified'

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A nurse has been sacked for altering records about a seriously ill baby who died after being turned away from a hospital which has no full-time doctors, it was disclosed yesterday.

Maureen Thompson, a staff nurse at Berwick-upon-Tweed Infirmary, Northumberland, for 14 years, was dismissed after a disciplinary panel ruled that Ms Thompson rewrote and falsified entries on the casualty card and also tried to destroy original documentation.

Cheviot and Wansbeck NHS Trust said in a statement it was considered that her actions constituted gross professional misconduct. Ms Thompson, who has 21 days in which to appeal, was not making any comment.

Berwick Infirmary is 50 miles from the nearest large hospital but does not have full-time medical staff as the authorities consider there is too low a patient flow to justify it.

When Gordon and Angela Smith took 11-month-old Ryan, who was born with a heart defect, to the infirmary on 3 October they were told to take him to the GP's surgery, where he died - although an inquiry said he would probably have died even if he was treated at the hospital.