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Nurse held vote for patients to fight on mental health ward

PUBLISHED: 08:03 02 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:46 02 April 2019

The Fermoy Unit, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn.
Photo:IAN BURT
Copy:Tom Matthews
For:EDP News
EDP pics © 2005  
(01603)772434

The Fermoy Unit, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. Photo:IAN BURT Copy:Tom Matthews For:EDP News EDP pics © 2005 (01603)772434

Archant © 2004

A mental health nurse has been rapped by a misconduct panel after asking patients to vote on whether they wanted to see two men on the ward fight each other.

The Fermoy Unit, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn.
Photo:IAN BURT
Copy:Tom Matthews
For:EDP News
EDP pics © 2005  
(01603)772434                             The Fermoy Unit, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn. Photo:IAN BURT Copy:Tom Matthews For:EDP News EDP pics © 2005 (01603)772434

Steven Boyd had been working on the Churchill Ward at the Fermoy Unit in King’s Lynn at the time of the incident, in July 2016.

It houses acutely unwell patients, most at high risk of self harming or psychosis.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council misconduct panel heard how on July 8, 2016, Boyd was a registered nurse at the unit.

“You asked other mental health patients to raise their hands to cast a vote to determine whether they wanted to see one patient attack another,” their judgement read.

Boyd admitted the charge at the misconduct panel.

He told them at the time of the incident the hospital was understaffed and he was “experiencing difficult personal circumstances”, but that he now “fully regrets” the incident.

He told the panel as he knew the patients involved he was confident the ‘de-escalation’ technique would work, but later admitted it was “maverick”.

According to the misconduct panel judgement he said: “In hindsight [I] understand that there was a clear risk to patients and staff by using this de-escalation technique.

“This was a dangerous situation which involved two volatile patients and [I] can understand how the de-escalation method used would be seen as reckless and a bad example to visitors.”

When he was dismissed from the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust as a result of the allegations, Boyd described it as a “therapeutic method”, but told the panel he now knows it to be wrong.

He also admitted or had proved a number of other allegations including inappropriate or aggressive attitude towards colleagues and patients.

While working at Cambian Willows between April and July 2017, Boyd also faced multiple allegations involving a teenage patient with a history of self harm and suicide attempts.

On one occasion he asked her ‘are you dead yet?’, and on another said she was fit to be interviewed by police while sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Other allegations were not found proved as the young patient was unable to give evidence.

Boyd was given an conditions of practice order for 12 months after the panel heard he had improved his work in the past year.

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