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Nurse struck off for 'inappropriate' behaviour with vulnerable patient

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:11 28 August 2019

A mental health nurse in Norfolk has been struck off for inappropriate behavious with a patient. Picture: Ian Burt

A mental health nurse in Norfolk has been struck off for inappropriate behavious with a patient. Picture: Ian Burt

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A male nurse has been struck off over inappropriate behaviour with a patient - including taking her out for lunch and buying her mum a fridge freezer.

Mental health nurse John Middleton faced charges of misconduct while employed by the Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust based on his behaviour towards one patient under his care.

On August 7, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) found Mr Middleton's actions to be inappropriate and his fitness to practice was impaired.

The NMC report states the female patient, named Patient A, was vulnerable and was liable to form attachments.

Between January 2014 and April 2016, Mr Middleton gave the patient lifts in his car, sent her text messages on his personal phone and involved his wife in her care.

He took her out for lunch at a fish and chip shop and bought her mum a fridge freezer before she was discharged from his caseload in July 2014.

He also called at her house and asked his wife to call in regularly in case Patient A needed any shopping.

He changed his phone number in January 2016 three days after receiving a text message from Patient A saying she loved him.

A relative of the patient made allegations against Mr Middleton in May 2016 and he was suspended from work the following month.

In deciding to strike off Mr Middleton from the nursing register, the NMC report states: "It was of the view that Mr Middleton's conduct, given his senior position and that he was dealing with a vulnerable patient, was deeply troubling.

"The panel determined that a suspension order would not be a sufficient, appropriate or proportionate sanction."

"Mr Middleton's actions in breaching his professional boundaries with a vulnerable patient were significant departures from the standards expected of a registered nurse, and are fundamentally incompatible with him remaining on the register."

Mr Middleton, who did not attend the hearing, also faced charges of engaging in sexually-motivated acts with the patient but these were dropped due to insufficient evidence.

In a written submission to the NMC, Mr Middleton said: "I'm not attending this hearing as I do not intend to work in a nursing or care sector, neither do I regard myself as a 'nurse' anymore, in any sense."

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