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Nurse who stole £34,000 from mental health charity banned

Elaine Fox abused her position at East Neuk Recovery Group Initiative in Fife to pocket the money.

Fife: Elaine Fox stole from East Neuk Recovery Group Initiative. <strong>Google 2019</strong>
Fife: Elaine Fox stole from East Neuk Recovery Group Initiative. Google 2019

A nurse who stole almost £35,000 from a mental health charity she managed has been struck off.

Elaine Fox abused her position at East Neuk Recovery Group Initiative (ENeRGI) in Fife to pocket the money over the space of four years.

The cash should have been used to support vulnerable service users with mental health and substance misuse issues.

After her crimes were discovered in 2017, she was charged and convicted of embezzlement at Dundee Sheriff Court.

In November 2018, Fox was tagged for four months and ordered to undertake unpaid work.

The court heard that she had paid back £15,900 of the £34,136 stolen. The sheriff ordered her to repay the outstanding £18,236.

At a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) fitness to practise hearing last week, the panel highlighted that Fox was initially charged with embezzling £48,000.

They stated that the project manager’s dishonesty was a “breach of trust and an abuse of the responsible position she held”.

The charity – based in St Monans – has a drop-in centre and provides self-directed and housing support.

As well as benefit advice and information, it also has befriending and anti-poverty projects.

Fox resigned from her managerial post in August 2017.

Although she was not in attendance at the NMC hearing, she sent an email to the panel in which she accepted that her conviction should lead to being struck off.

She said: “I also feel a criminal conviction and continued registration are not compatible or appropriate.

“Despite the complexities of the situation leading up to my arrest and all the issues I have raised in the responses I have already provided, I feel there can only be one outcome – striking off.”

The panel agreed and found her fitness to practise impaired.

They stated that “nothing short” of a striking off order would be “sufficient in this case”, adding: “Nurses occupy a position of privilege and trust in society and are expected at all times to be professional and to maintain professional boundaries.

“To justify that trust, nurses must be honest and open and act with integrity. They must make sure that their conduct at all times justifies both their patients’ and the public’s trust in the profession.

“The panel finds that Ms Fox has, by virtue of her conviction for embezzlement, brought the reputation of the profession into disrepute.”


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