Nurse who forced food into mental health patient’s mouth whilst asking ‘How do you like it?’ is struck off from profession

Hellesdon - Hellesdon Hospital. Photo: Bill Smith

Hellesdon - Hellesdon Hospital. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2012

A nurse who picked food up off the floor and shoved it into a patient's face while demanding: 'How do you like it?' has been struck off from the profession.

Larysa Drabble, who previously worked at Hellesdon Hospital in Norwich, was suspended in May last year by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

But now, the suspension has been reviewed and Drabble was banned for good after showing a 'lack of engagement' in the disciplinary process.

It comes after an incident on November 21, 2014, involving a patient at Hellesdon Hospital's Rollesby ward, run by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT).

The patient had been admitted following an attempt to kill himself and because of the risk of harm he posed to others - and Drabble had reacted angrily when he threw his dinner plate towards her.

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At the initial NMC hearing Ben Edwards, for the NMC, said: 'The man walked over to his plate of food that was on the floor, picked it up and threw it in the registrant's (Drabble) direction. Drabble then picked up food from the floor and forced it in his face making contact with his mouth.'

Drabble asked the man: 'How do you like it?'

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She had claimed the hospital was understaffed but colleagues contradicted her claims, the original hearing was told. She was previously convicted of battery for the incident at Norfolk Magistrates' Court on June 29, 2015, and given a six-month conditional discharge.

In a letter to the NMC, Drabble alleged the description of the event had been 'malignantly twisted' and also said she accepted her fitness to practice had been impaired but only by 'virtue of having [a] criminal record' rather than by misconduct.

The panel decided Drabble had shown 'limited insight into her failings'.

Prior to the latest hearing, on May 16, Drabble's only engagement with the NMC had been on May 9, in the form of a telephone call.

But the panel found: 'Mrs Drabble has failed to acknowledge the seriousness her actions had upon Service User A, her colleagues and the reputation of the profession. Mrs Drabble has failed to fully acknowledge why her conduct was wrong, how she should have acted differently or how she would act in the future. She has also failed to acknowledge that her actions escalated an already volatile situation with a distressed, vulnerable service user.'

NSFT chief executive, Michael Scott, said: 'We would support the decision reached by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

'Behaviour of this type is abhorrent and it will not be tolerated by our trust. That is why we took immediate action in suspending this individual from duty and, following a robust internal investigation, dismissed them from our employ.

'We have offered our deepest apologies to the service user for what they experienced and we deeply regret that this happened while they were under our care.

'We must stress such incidents are extremely rare; however, when they do occur we will continue to act in a manner that will give our service users, the public, and staff confidence in our services.'

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