Nurse suspended over alleged assault on elderly dementia patient

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A NURSE has been suspended amid allegations he assaulted an elderly dementia patient.

Ian Hamilton Rafferty, a mental health nurse from Dumfries, allegedly kicked an elderly patient ‘without mental capacity’ in the leg and grabbed her arm.

A statement from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said he would be suspended for 18 months, the maximum period allowed for an investigation.

Following a hearing in Edinburgh, the NMC said Mr Rafferty had lost his job from his employer of 12 years after the accusation was made.

The incident took place in Dumfries-shire, though its exact location has not been revealed.

Rachel Ellis, case presenter for the NMC, said the suspension – known as an “interim order” was necessary on the grounds of public protection.

The interim order means that Mr Rafferty is not allowed to work as a nurse until the matter is fully investigated.

An NMC statement said: “The allegations relate to the alleged assault of an elderly patient without mental capacity under the care of the registrant.

“It is alleged that the registrant grabbed the patient by the right arm and kicked her lower leg, resulting in an injury, including a cut and bruising.”

It continued: “The registrant is facing a very serious allegation relating to the alleged assault of a vulnerable elderly patient suffering from dementia.”

“Further, the panel had regard to the fact that the registrant was dismissed by his employer after a disciplinary hearing.

“The employer took the decision having taken account of the testimonies available from witnesses.

“The registrant had worked for the employer for approximately 12 years, in one role or another.”

Mr Rafferty was represented by Alistair Forsyth, who said the nurse had an ‘unblemished career.’

Mr Forsyth argued against suspending his client..

He said Mr Rafferty denied the allegation and, prior to being dismissed, had an unblemished career spanning some 22 years.

Mr Forsyth drew the panel’s attention to the “potential impacts” suspension would have on his client.

The NMC said it “noted” that Mr Rafferty was the “principal bread winner in the household, although there is another income coming in”.

The NMC added: “The panel was also mindful that the registrant has a potential employment opportunity and an interim order could have a negative effect on this, even though nurse registration is not required for the position.”

But they concluded: “The panel determined however that the protection of the public and the public interest outweighed the registrant’s own interests in this regard.”

Mr Rafferty declined to comment when contacted.

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