Nurse struck off after conviction

A Liverpool nurse convicted of funding a lavish lifestyle through a relationship with her drug boss boyfriend has been struck from the medical profession.

Georgia Harkness, 27, began a relationship with drug dealer Ashley Blackett after they met in prison, while he was serving time and she worked as a prison nurse. Harkness, the daughter of former Liverpool footballer Steve Harkness, had Blackett’s baby and helped him continue to run his criminal empire while he was in prison.

After being convicted almost 12 months ago, the former Broadgreen hospital nurse has now been barred from working in the medical sector.

Manchester Crown Court was told last March how Blackett arranged for money to be sent to Harkness so she could splash out on designer clothes and jewellery and drive an Audi A5. She tried to hide the extent of her involvement by refusing to tell police her phone’s PIN, but they eventually cracked the device and discovered incriminating material.

Harkness avoided jail after a judge said she had no previous convictions. She was sentenced to two years, suspended for 24 months.

She will now no longer be allowed to return to her career as a nurse, following sanction from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

A fitness to practise hearing was held in Harkness’ absence earlier this month to consider her case. Documents released from the session said the former nurse, from St Helens, had been informed of proceedings in January.

The panel heard Harkness “does not want to attend or anything to do with this case. She says she either wants to be removed from the register or for this case to proceed without her.”

In August 2020, the NMC received a self-referral form from Harkness following her arrest the previous month regarding steroids found at her address and activity in her bank account. A referral was also received from Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Trust where she was employed.

Passing down sentence, Judge Nicholas Dean KC said he had hoped Harkness would be able to return to her career as a “good and conscientious nurse” after rehabilitation. He said it was clear she loved her job in the procession and had “thrived” but added if she were to continue her relationship “it is highly unlikely that you will be able ever to return to nursing because he will continue to be an influence and not a good influence on you.”

The NMC took a dim view on Harkness’ role in the relationship which led to her conviction, deeming striking her from the profession was necessary as they had received no evidence she no longer posed a risk to patient safety. 

The document said: “The panel considered there to be high public interest in the circumstances of this case. The panel found that the charges found proved are serious. 

“It was of the view that a fully informed member of the public would be concerned by its findings on facts. The panel concluded that public confidence in the nursing profession would be undermined if a finding of impairment was not made in this case.”

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