A NURSE caught filling a water bottle with vodka at a college has been suspended for a year.
Susan Dempsey was seen by colleagues transferring the alcohol into her plastic bottle while on duty at the Orchard Hill College in Sutton.
When challenged, Dempsey said: "Oh my goodness, did you think I was drinking?"
She claimed both bottles contained water but The Nursing and Midwifery Council found Dempsey had turned up to work drunk and put patients at "unwarranted risk of harm".
Determining that her actions amounted to misconduct and that she was not fit to work without restrictions, the conduct and competence hearing concluded that she be suspended for 12 months.
NMC panel chairman Ian Luder said on Tuesday: "Although there is no evidence of any patient harm as a result of Ms Dempsey's actions, the panel had little difficulty in concluding that by attending work whilst unfit or under the influence placed patients at unwarranted risk of harm.
"Her actions not only had the potential to impact on patient care directly but could have also affected her colleagues."
At the time of the incident on September 1, 2010, Dempsey was working for the college which provides care for vulnerable students suffering from epilepsy autism and severe learning difficulties.
The NMC hearing heard she was seen by a colleague filling a water bottle from a vodka bottle.
On being challenged by the colleague, she stated that both bottles contained water.
Dempsey now has 28 days to appeal her punishment.