Mental health nurse sanctioned after telling patient to ‘stop going on’

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Hospitals have increased their spending on agency staff - Credit: IAN BURT

A mental health nurse has been sanctioned after telling a patient “to stop going on and on”.

Amy Constable was working in the Linden Centre, run by the North Essex Partnership (NEP) mental health trust at the time of the incident in October 2011.

A hearing of the conduct and competence committee of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) found it proved that Mrs Constable said words to the effect of “stop going on and on, I’m not bl**dy deaf” to the patient.

It also found proved that Mrs Constable said to staff in relation to another patient the following March “if I ever get like that, I want to go to Switzerland”, while in January 2014 in reference to a third, dead, patient said “he was just a drunk anyway”.

An investigation was launched by the NMC after a referral from the NEP about a care plan for a patient which was drafted up after he had committed suicide.

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Mrs Constable signed the plan after being asked to do so by a manager knowing the patient was dead, but did not know the plan had been written after his death.

When she realised the breach of conduct Mrs Constable herself raised the issue with her employers, but during the subsequent investigation the other allegations came to light.

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Mrs Constable admitted telling the patient to “stop going on” but denied swearing and said it was part of a de-escalation technique after the patient had been screaming at her, a point accepted by the conduct committee.

The NMC panel found the proved allegations when taken together amounted to misconduct, particularly as Mrs Constable was a senior nurse, and issued a year-long caution order.

The panel heard the incidents were out-of-character and resulted in no harm to patients.

It also accepted that Mrs Constable has shown “insight” into her conduct, and “apologised and shown genuine remorse”.

The Linden Centre, based at Broomfield Hospital, provides in-patient services for people with mental health difficulties in mid-Essex.

The NEP said internal disciplinary action had already been taken in relation to the case.

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