26 Jan 2020

Six-month suspension for nurse who shared DHB's taxi chits with family, friends

10:54 am on 26 January 2020

A nurse who took taxi vouchers meant for mental health patients has been suspended for six months.

Ekaterina Sinyukova was employed by the Waitematā District Health Board for three years, until she resigned in February 2018.

A Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal decision said the DHB noticed that over a six-month period in 2017, taxi use skyrocketed.

It was subsequently discovered that a number of taxi chits were missing.

Sinyukova admitted her wrong-doing and ended up repaying $950.

She had used some of the taxi chits herself for non-work trips and others had been given to family and friends, the tribunal decision said.

The taxi chits should have been used to transport mental health patients.

They could be used by staff in some limited circumstances.

The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal found Sinyukova's actions amounted to professional misconduct.

The tribunal said it appeared Sinyukova had taken a flippant attitude towards the professional consequences of misusing the taxi vouchers.

In an email to the tribunal, she said: "I have no job, no house and no family due to the situation with vouchers - this is ridiculous considering that I was a top student for four years and had excellent people service skills."

The tribunal decided not to impose a fine, in part because of Sinyukova's financial circumstances.

She told the tribunal she had not worked for two years, because she was under investigation and she sometimes lived in her car.

As well as the suspension, she has been censured and ordered to pay some costs.