Midwife’s prescription forgery prompts nationwide warning

File photo.

An Auckland midwife who forged painkiller prescriptions for herself has prompted a nationwide warning from the Ministry of Health.

The woman, who no longer holds a practising certificate, attempted to write prescriptions for the painkillers codeine and tramadol using the names of other midwives and false patient details.

The Ministry of Health says midwives cannot prescribe codeine and generally do not write prescriptions for high-dose tramadol, which is used to treat moderate to severe pain.

The Midwifery Council was alerted to the fact that the woman was presenting the fake scripts on 3 October, when a pharmacist called them with concerns. Police were also told.

The midwife had previously got codeine and large doses of tramadol from the pharmacy.

The council informed the Ministry of Health and three days later its medical officer of health, John Crawshaw, issued a "privileged statement" to pharmacies.

It reminded pharmacists that midwives cannot prescribe codeine and generally would not write a prescription for high-dose tramadol for extended periods.

Pharmacists were asked to be on the lookout for the scripts and not to dispense the prescription or give it back to the person. If they thought a script was forged, pharmacists were asked to call the police.

In a statement the Midwifery Council says the woman agreed to give up her practising certificate earlier this year, before the forgery claims came to light.

She gave it up because of a health condition and could not continue working. RNZ understands the woman has mental health issues.

In a statement the Ministry of Health said it did not often issue a privileged statement. This was the first time this year.

And it, like the Midwifery Council, said it believed it was an isolated incident.

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