A DEMOTED nurse tried to take revenge on his boss by threatening to expose him in the press unless he was given £3,000.
But Paul Bambrick’s crude attempt to extort cash backfired spectacularly when he was sacked from his job – and suspended from the profession.
The mental health nurse was demoted from Band 5 to Band 2 on the pay scale after a string of errors at Chrichton Royal Hospital, Dumfries, losing as much as £10,000 a year from his salary.
Mr Bambrick decided to get his own back on his manager, Ian Hancock, by threatening to go to the press with a story about him.
He emailed a senior colleague telling her to get Mr Hancock to “instruct Payroll to pay me ?3,000” and work to get him reinstated as a Band 5 nurse.
A hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in Edinburgh this week heard how the plan quickly unravelled.
The matter was reported to NHS Dumfries and Galloway who were convinced the email was an extortion attempt and sacked Mr Bambrick.
The nurse admitted nine charges at the NMC hearing and has been told he cannot work as a nurse for six months.
Claire Gabriel, a senior charge nurse at the hospital, gave evidence at the hearing that she had been part of a disciplinary panel which demoted Mr Bambrick over drug administration errors in July and August 2010.
It is understood the demotion meant his annual salary dropped from as much as £25,000 to as little as £15,000.
Mrs Gabriel received an email from Mr Bambrick’s iPhone in May 2011 which said: “Hi, so glad to hear ur pal Mr I am so full of myself Hancock has found himself in the limelight.
“Encourage him to reinstate me band 5 and instruct Payroll to pay me ?3000 or I will take my story to the Standard. Pass this message on by Wednesday 01/06/2011.”
It is not clear what story Mr Bambrick was going to give to the press but Mr Hancock, director of psychology services at the health board, had been caution by the Healthcare Professions Council over claims he made about an unnamed nurse.
The matter had, however, already been reported by the press.
Senior charge nurse, Margaret Mary Stewart, in a statement to the NMC, said: “[Mr Bambrick] admitted sending the email saying it was one of the most regretful things he had done.
“He was taken to a disciplinary hearing where he was dismissed.”
NMC case presenter Yusuf Segovia said: “It doesn’t seem like the most most serious attempt to extort money from the board.
“It seems a bit inept or hapless. It certainly isn’t an inappropriate email to send – it contains a threat – but it must be seen in context.”
A previous NMC hearing said an NHS Dumfries and Galloway disciplinary panel “was satisfied that the email contained an attempt at extortion and decided to terminate [Mr Bambrick’s] employment with the Board with immediate effect.”
He said he was “under the influence of alcohol at the time of sending the message”, which he regretted.
The NMC panel chair Hilary Nightingale said the email showed a lack of professionalism.
She said: “The panel considers this to demonstrate a total lack of professionalism and judgement on your part.”
Mr Bambrick’s lawyer Gregor Angus argued the email was not a genuine attempt to extort money from the health board.
Ms Nightingale told Mr Bambrick: “Mr Angus submitted that you have accepted from the outset of the NMC proceedings that the email you sent on 29 May 2011 was inappropriate, and furthermore that is was not a genuine attempt to extort money or to be reinstated as a registered nurse.”
An NHS Dumfries and Galloway spokesman said: “The Health Board cannot comment on an individual case.”