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Nurse on King's Lynn mental health ward proposed vote on fight between patients

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A nurse on a Lynn mental health ward invited patients to vote on whether they wished to see two others fight, a misconduct hearing has been told.

Steven Boyd had been employed as a nurse in the Churchill ward of the Fermoy Unit, in the grounds of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, at the time of the incident in July 2016.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council panel heard that Mr Boyd, who has worked as a nurse since 1999, invited the patients to vote on the matter as a de-escalation technique, which he described as "maverick" and said he would never use it again.

The Fermoy Unit at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital
The Fermoy Unit at Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital

Mr Boyd told the panel that at the time of the incident, the hospital was understaffed and he was experiencing "difficult personal circumstances".

The panel said, after considering a number of further misconduct charges, that it was satisfied Mr Boyd's fitness to practise was "currently impaired" and imposed a conditions of practice order on him for 12 months.

Between May and July 2017, while working at Cambian Willows in Wisbech, run by the Cambian Group, Mr Boyd was said to have greeted a patient, who had a history of "self-harm, fragile mental health and suicide attempts", with the words 'are you dead?'.

The panel found that Mr Boyd's "failure to identify the clear risks posed" by greeting the patient in this way was of "significant concern".

Mr Boyd told the panel that at the time of this incident, he had been off work for a while because of health reasons and had been experiencing "a lot of difficult life changes".

The panel found that the two incidents, when viewed together, demonstrated that Mr Boyd "acts impulsively and fails to fully consider the potential risks posed for how he interacted with these patients – a failing that the panel consider is not yet remediated".

While Mr Boyd admitted six of the charges at the hearing and one was "found proved", the panel said only three of these amounted to misconduct, and five of the charges were not proved.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council panel imposed a 12-month conditions of practice order on Mr Boyd.

The order's conditions include requirements that, while working in the nursing profession, he must remain under the supervision of a workplace line manager, mentor or supervisor, and the creation of a personal development plan.

The report adds: "The panel noted that Mr Boyd had already been making positive progress and he has acknowledged his misconduct in his oral evidence.

"Further, the panel was not aware of any concerns that had arise in Mr Boyd's nursing practice since the concerns found in 2017."

The panel's decision has come to light after the hearing, which began in November but was adjourned to February, was concluded in early March.

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