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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Carlisle nurse struck off after sex, booze and drugs with addict patient

A rehab nurse who overdosed on ecstasy while on a drinking binge with a patient has been kicked out of her profession.

Related: Carlisle addiction nurse overdosed on drug during affair with patient

Amy Sutherland met the man outside work but quickly realised he was being treated at the Carlisle clinic where she worked.

She admitted to her boss that she was in a sexual relationship with patient – identified only as Service User A – but ignored orders to end the affair with the drug addict, who had a criminal record and suffered from a personality disorder.

Following one meeting with the man in June 2009, she posted photos on Facebook of herself wearing a drug awareness t-shirt as she boozed and took ecstasy in his presence.

A string of charges were found proved against Sutherland at a Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing in London yesterday.

Panel chairman Sheila Hewit said: “The registrant’s failings in this case relate to an inappropriate sexual relationship with a service user, and subsequent dishonesty about ending that relationship, as well as the use of controlled drugs and alcohol in the presence of the service user.

“The registrant engaged in a sexual relationship with Service User A. Despite being informed that this was inappropriate and that she must end the relationship, she knowingly deceived her line manager by saying that the relationship had ended when it had not.

“The registrant’s conduct was aggravated by the fact that Service User A was receiving treatment for drug addiction and had mental health issues. He was therefore a vulnerable client.”

Sutherland caused Service User A direct harm and she may have contributed to his return to heroin use, and exclusion from the rehab programme, she added.

She embarked on an “inappropriate relationship” with the man while working at the centre in Botchergate.

Sutherland informed her line manager Karen Nicoll that the pair were having a sexual relationship and she was ordered to end it.

Checks were made, during which the nurse insisted she had broken off the affair.

She then handed in her notice on June 1, indicating that she wanted it to take effect from June 26.

Joanna Dirmkis, for the NMC, said: “On June 19 she [Sutherland] confirmed that she had not ended the relationship, had taken ecstasy in front of him and had drunk for several hours in his presence.”

Sutherland did not attend the hearing and did not formally admit or deny any of the allegations.

She has 28 days to appeal against the decision and an interim order has been imposed for a period of 18 months.

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