A TRANSKEI nurse is facing criminal charges for allegedly dispensing medicines to old people at pension payout points, the Eastern Cape health department said yesterday.
Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the nurse, from Butterworth, had been treating "patients" in the village of Makhonya in the Libode area on Monday.
A member of the community tipped off the department, which called in the police.
"She was found in possession of strictly-controlled drugs such as codeine, a schedule six substance, as well as valium. There is a long list of them," said Kupelo.
"We believe that she has been targeting pay points across the province."
The woman, who was registered with the SA Nursing Council as a retired staff nurse, would face charges under the Nursing, Pharmaceutical and Medicines Control Acts.
The Nursing Act did not allow staff nurses to dispense medicine, Kupelo said yesterday.
He said the medicines had been transported in a bakkie and the boot of a small sedan, which could have compromised the quality of any that needed to be kept cool at all times.
The department's informant had said the nurse had given injections to elderly women in the back of the bakkie.
The department also wanted the police to investigate the source of the drugs. Kupelo said the Makhonya pay point was only metres away from a clinic.
"We appeal to people not to accept medical treatment from anywhere other than a clinic, hospital or private practitioner with a clearly-displayed practice number," he said.
He said the woman had been released on warning, and would appear in the Libode magistrate's court on Friday. - Sapa