A former nurse at a private Blackheath hospital has been suspended after admitting popping powerful painkillers during her shift.

Staff at Blackheath Hospital became concerned in 2012 after noticing a number of missing dihydrocodeine tablets - an addictive morphine-like painkiller which should only be taken six times at most in 24 hours.

Nurse Susan Granger was eventually spied by a colleague pocketing a strip of the tablets. When questioned, Ms Granger admitted taking five of the pills in just three hours and was later sacked.

The Nursing and Midwidery Council heard this month how Ms Granger would mainly take tablets at night, but would also pop three or four during a 14-hour shift.

At her hearing, she admitted taking 15 of the tablets and working while under their influence on October 4.

And the conduct and competence committee concluded she had put patients "at unwarranted risk of harm", suspending her for 12 months.