Nursing lecturer struck off for falsifying medical problems to get PhD extension

A nursing lecturer and registered nurse claimed to have inoperable cancer to get extensions for her PhD.

Deborah Ward was accused of systematically lied to her bosses and colleagues at the University of Manchester where she lectured in Infection Prevention and Control at the School of Nursing.

She was referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and will now be struck off the nursing register for her actions.


A Nursing and Midwifery Council disciplinary panel heard that she undertook months of deceit including email her line manager stating she had a brain tumour and falsified letters and websites to support her claims.

Ms Ward did not attend her fitness to practice hearing.

In a statement submitted to the NMC, Ms Ward said: “Dishonesty in any form is inexcusable and unacceptable as a registrant and reflects badly on the nursing professions so I understand and agree that this cannot be tolerated by the NMC.

“I fully accept responsibility for my actions and understand that your only course of action is to remove me from the register.

“Obviously this saddens me as I worked diligently as a nurse and nurse teacher for over 20 years but there is no one to blame for the situation that I find myself in but myself.

“I understand clearly that as a registered nurse I am responsible and accountable for my own actions and that there is nobody else at fault in this case.”

The NMC said: “This was not dishonesty undertaken on the spur of the moment nor could it be described as an isolated act or a momentary lapse.

“It was a course of conduct which she maintained over a long period and required elaborate preparation.

“Ms Ward must have had multiple opportunities to tell the truth in the course of four years and report her genuine health condition(s) but did not do so.

“Only when directly challenged did Ms Ward finally admit her deception.”

The fitness to practice panel ruled that Ms Ward should be struck off following an 18-month interim suspension order to cover the statutory appeal period.