A nurse has been struck off the register after getting high on stolen morphine at work and taking hospital drugs for her own use.

Sally Gannon, who worked at Milton Keynes University Hospital, was found guilty of three misconduct charges in a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing on March 17.

The charges were for being under the influence of Oramorph, consuming it at work and stealing hospital medication – for which Mrs Gannon received a police caution.

An agency nurse at the time, Mrs Gannon was spotted drinking the morphine solution which was taken from the controlled drugs cabinet at the hospital.

Colleagues who had witnessed the side effects of Mrs Gannon's morphine intake or saw her consume it provided evidence against her.

One colleague, described only as Ms 1, said she left Mrs Gannon in charge of locking the medicine cupboard while she attended to a patient.

“I returned less than a minute later. Sally had the cupboard open and had her head tilted back with a small bottle in her mouth,” she said.

Another nurse spoke about the side effects: “I noticed that she couldn’t stop talking, she was flitting from one part of the conversation to another.”

Ms 1 similarly noticed the morphine effects and said: “I’d already had a conversation with the ward sister and she had commented ‘Sally didn’t appear herself’.

In a conversation with a colleague, Mrs Gannon admitting to stealing a variety of medication from work for a number of years – including controlled drugs and other medication.

Mrs Gannon admitted to Ms 3 that she chose to be able to work in different places for nursing agencies for the purpose of being able to access and self-medicate with the drugs.

The NMC imposed an 18-month suspension order to prevent Mrs Gannon from working. After 18 months, if she hasn't successfully appealed, she will be struck off the register.

At the hearing, which Mrs Gannon failed to attend, the panel said: “Honesty is the bedrock of the nursing profession.

“Mrs Gannon’s actions when considered both individually, and as a whole amounted to serious misconduct.”