A SCOTS mental health nurse has been struck off after striking up a homosexual relationship with one of his former patients.
Gordon Gibson, 50, from Biggar, Lanarkshire, was working as a staff nurse at Borders General Hospital when he conducted an inappropriate relationship with a vulnerable male ex-patient between April 2004 and January 2007.
The nurse failed to appear at the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s conduct and competence committee hearing in Edinburgh this week, but admitted six of the seven charges facing him by letter.
The disciplinary hearing of the disgraced nurse, who is married with children, was held in private to protect the identity of the male patient involved.
The charges included Gibson encouraging Mr A to contact him following the patient’s discharge from the hospital by asking a female friend to pass on his personal e-mail address.
Conducting improper relationship
Charges also included engaging in a personal friendship and conducting a sexual relationship with Mr A, but Gibson denied making contact with the vulnerable patient while an ongoing enquiry by his employers was being held.
Gibson was also accused of inappropriately disclosing confidential information about the patient, identified only as Mr A, concerning the man’s past history of sexual abuse.
In striking Gibson’s name from the nursing register, Wednesday’s three-man panel stated: “In the judgement of the panel, the misconduct both found and admitted represents a serious departure from the relevant standards set out in the NMC Code of Professional Conduct.
“The registrant failed to appreciate that the appropriate relationship between a vulnerable patient and a practitioner is one which focuses exclusively on the needs of the patient.
“The registrant failed to maintain an appropriate boundary in his relationship with his former patient. He failed to ensure that all aspects of the relationship focused exclusively upon the needs of his former patient.
“The patient was an extremely vulnerable young man with a history of emotional and sexual abuse and long standing and ongoing mental health problems.
“The registrant abused his position of trust and that constitutes misconduct of such seriousness that confidence in the profession and the NMC would be undermined if he were not struck off.
“The registrant has produced little or no mitigating evidence on his own behalf.
“The panel has noted that the registrant himself accepts his misconduct is of such a grave nature that a striking off order is the appropriate sanction and he has stated that he regrets the harm caused by his actions
“The panel is satisfied that it is necessary in this case to make an interim suspension order for a period of 18 months.
“Given the seriousness of the misconduct, the panel is satisfied that the order is necessary for the protection of the public and otherwise in the public interest.”