A WIRRAL nurse stole morphine from the hospital where she worked because she had stomach pains, a court heard.
Michelle McKay, 48,was filmed taking painkiller morphine sulphate at Arrowe Park Hospital by a hidden camera installed by suspicious security staff.
The cameras were fitted after it was noticed bottles of the drug had disappeared from a cabinet on Ward 18.
McKay, of Laurel Road, Birkenhead, admitted three charges of stealing the drug, worth £1.05 a bottle, on November 3 last year and another charge of stealing morphine sulphate between September 3 and November 2.
Wirral magistrates court heard the nurse described herself as a “very poor patient” and decided to self-medicate rather than take time off from a job she loved.
The court heard mum-of-four McKay had worked as a carer for 19 years before training as a nurse, qualifying in 2008.
She was suspended by hospital bosses after the thefts came to light and has since been sacked from her job.
Neil Evans, prosecuting, said: “She was arrested when the police were called and stated that for the previous two months she had taken the morphine sulphate.
“She said she had abdominal pains and was taking it for her own benefit.”
Kate Thew, defending, said McKay visited her doctor the day after she was arrested and was now on medication for her kidney condition.
The court was told McKay’s marriage had broken down unexpectedly at the time the thefts took place.
Ms Thew said: “This is an individual who overlooked her own medical problems, who describes herself as a very poor patient and unfortunately took the opportunity to self-medicate.
“She fully appreciates the breach of trust involved in her actions. Nursing was something she loved doing, something she aspired to do for a very long time.
“As a result of her actions all of those aspirations for her future career have now unfortunately been ruined. This will have an effect on her for the rest of her life.”
Magistrates imposed a 12-month community order and ordered McKay to complete 70 hours of unpaid work and pay £75 costs.
Chair of the bench Max Bryan told her: “We have been very lenient with you.”