A nurse who repeatedly worked for an agency while claiming £5,000 in sick pay from a hospitals trust has been allowed to keep working for the NHS.

A fitness to practise committee panel heard how Tanya Barker, who worked as a registered nurse at East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, claimed sick pay totalling £5,303.63 over two years, but continued to undertake work for Thornbury Nursing Services.

Ms Barker, from Preston, did work on May 1 2014; January 31 2016; March 21 2016 and March 22 2016, while receiving sick pay from the trust, with the panel finding her actions to be dishonest as she knew she was not permitted to work the for the agency while on sick leave.

The panel also found she intended to conceal from the trust that she had worked with the agency and her fitness to practise was found to be impaired by reason of her misconduct.

The charges against Ms Barker – undertaking paid work while on sick leave, dishonest conduct, and submitting inaccurate information – came after a 2018 investigation by the trust HR department.

A fact-finding interview was held on September 5 2018 where Ms Barker initially denied the allegations.

However, after being shown documents from the agency, she made admissions.

A disciplinary hearing was then held by the trust and she was sacked on November 30 2018.

In June 2019, Ms Barker made full admissions to NHS Counter Fraud investigators and was interviewed under caution where she offered to pay back the sick pay received from the trust.

A report from the fitness to practise committee hearing states: "Shortly after dismissal, you became a carer.

"You also worked two nights a week in a nursing home to give you focus and help you get back into nursing.

"In January 2020, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, you accepted a full-time role as a nursing home manager for residents with learning disabilities.

"You worked in this role from January 2020 to July 2020. From July 2020 to February 2021, you worked in a clinical lead position at a specialist unit for patients with Huntington’s disease."

Ms Barker then returned to work for the NHS in February 2021 and carried out further training.

During the hearing, she expressed remorse for her past actions and looking back in hindsight, acknowledged that they were dishonest actions and poor decisions.

She explained that her life had developed in the eight years since the misconduct and informed the panel that she had paid approximately half of the money back to the trust and continued to make repayments under a court agreement.

She stated that she “loves nursing”, it is a significant part of her life, and she sees her “future in respiratory nursing”.

Ms Barker admitted all the charges, but denied any current impairment.

However the panel found her fitness to practise impaired on the ground of public interest alone and she received a caution order for three years, meaning her name on the NMC register will show that she is subject to a caution order and anyone who enquires about her registration will be informed of the order.

At the end of the period the note on her entry in the register will be removed. However, the NMC will keep a record of the panel’s finding that Ms Barker's fitness to practise had been found impaired.

A spokesperson for the East Lancashire Hospitals Trust said: "I make no apology for the trust’s very high expectations when it comes to the values and behaviours we expect of all colleagues.

"It’s important that our patients are able to trust us and, equally, that we can trust each other too.

"We will always take appropriate action, using the processes in place, to protect people and public money from fraud.

"We are satisfied with the outcome in this hearing and the matter is closed."