Abusive UK psych nurse loses license

April 1, 2013

A bullying senior nurse in a care home for chronic dementia sufferers has been struck off for cruelly mistreating vulnerable patients.

Howard Griffiths, 55, from Ebbw Vale, worked at the Rozelle nursing home in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) heard he laughed in the face of shocked junior colleagues outraged at the way he abused residents.

Verbal abuse ranged from spitting, shouting and swearing at residents.

Physical abuse included pulling one woman so violently by the skirt she was lifted from the ground.
Nine allegations

Another was pulled by the hair, one patient was told to sit down before being physically pushed into a chair.
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“He grossly abused his position of trust. His behaviour was a very serious departure from the relevant professional standards”
                     -- Michael Cann NMC panel chairman

Griffiths began undressing one patient before she was in her bedroom and pulled another around by her nightdress.

The NMC's fitness to practice panel heard from five care assistants who worked under Griffiths, who gave evidence about his treatment of patients to the hearing in Cardiff.

The panel found all nine separate allegations against him were proved in his absence after a three-day hearing.

"Mr Griffiths' actions did cause harm to patients over a number of years," said panel chairman Michael Cann.

"He grossly abused his position of trust. His behaviour was a very serious departure from the relevant professional standards."

Mr Cann added: "Allowing Mr Griffiths to continue practising would undermine public confidence in the profession and in the NMC as a regulatory body.

"Balancing all of these factors and having taken into account all the evidence before it during this case, the panel determined that the only appropriate and proportionate sanction is that of a striking-off order."

The panel took into account Griffiths' previous criminal convictions when deciding on which punishment to hand out.

In 2010, he was found guilty of two counts of wilfully ill-treating or neglecting a person who lacked mental capacity, but was cleared of eight identical charges linked to named residents at the home after a week-long trial.

He was sentenced to a 12-month supervision order and 50 hours unpaid community work at Newport Crown Court.

The decision was warmly welcomed by the son of a former resident whose mother suffered at the hands of Griffiths during his 30-year career as a psychiatric nurse.

"I'm delighted with the outcome and I feel that justice has been done," said David Arr, 57, from Worcester.

"I feel that he has got what he deserves and the only thing I regret is that he got away with it for so long.

"Who knows how many other residents had their lives blighted by him over the years before he was found out."

Source: "Abusive psychiatric nurse Howard Griffiths struck off," BBC South East Wales, March 22, 2013.


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