A NURSE has been cautioned for stealing drugs from Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Darren Carthew has been handed a five-year caution by the Nursing and Midwifery Council after admitting stealing an unknown amount of anti-anxiety drug lorazepam and dihydrocodeine, a medication used to treat pain and breathlessness between September 2010 and January 2011.

The two-day hearing in London beginning on Thursday, May 8 – which Mr Carthew did not attend – heard the former staff nurse was fired by Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust after admitting stealing the drugs in June 2011.

The committee heard nurses at the hospital had become suspicious after the emergency department’s usage of lorazepam dropped dramatically while Carthew was off sick.

When he was confronted by colleagues he said he had used keys he had as part of his role as a charge nurse to take the drugs from the hospital’s store and put them in his locker. When he was asked to return them he said he had taken them.

The hearing was told Carthew had a previously “exemplary” record during his employment at the hospital, where he had worked since 2001, and had expressed regret for his actions.

Although the committee agreed his actions “fell well below” the standards expected of him, it decided not to suspend him from the nursing registry but instead to issue him with a caution.

The caution will remain on his record in the nursing registry for five years and Carthew is legally required to declare it to any potential employers.