Norfolk and Waveney mental health nurse struck off after being found with indecent images of children

A community mental health nurse has been struck off after being found with indecent images of children on his computer.

John Purdy was cautioned by Norfolk police in January last year and in interview admitted he had 75 indecent images of children on his personal computer at home.

He was put on the sex offenders' register for two years and his employer, the then Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Foundation Trust, notified the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

A conduct and competence hearing was held by the NMC on Monday when a panel decided a caution for this type of offence was 'fundamentally incompatible with a nurse remaining on the register'.

The hearing heard police categorised the images as level one in severity, where one is the least and five is the most serious, and described them as children in provocative poses involving no nudity.

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While Purdy, who was not present at the hearing, maintained the images were downloaded accidentally, the panel took the view that visiting extremely questionable websites during a two-year period between March 10, 2008 and March 11, 2010 revealed 'an unhealthy interest in children'.

Purdy has not worked in a direct clinical setting with children in nearly 30 years in nursing and is now retired, but the panel said it needed to uphold confidence in the nursing profession and the only appropriate sanction was to strike his name off the register.

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The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which superseded the Foundation Trust, refused to say where in Norfolk and Waveney Purdy worked as a community nurse and when and how he left the trust.

Roz Brooks, director of governance and nursing, said: 'The trust takes patient safety very seriously and took immediate action as soon this allegation came to light. We fully support the decision taken by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.'

Purdy has 28 days to appeal the decision. Should he choose to appeal an interim suspension order has been issued to prevent him from working during the appeals process.

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