UK psych nurse struck off for punching dementia patient

December 10, 2013

Mental health nurse Julie Barber, 56, hit the patient during a night shift in the Daedalus ward at Gosport War Memorial Hospital and said: ‘How would you like it?’

A Nursing and Midwifery Council conduct panel heard Barber, of Shaftesbury Road, in Gosport, was escorting Patient Y on the ward away after he had swung for a support worker with his fist clenched.

Another support worker gave evidence at the panel and said Barber’s punch was ‘hard enough for him to flinch.’

It happened on June 18 to 19 in 2011. Barber was arrested but acquitted at court.

But it was just one of many incidents the panel heard.

On January 10, 2011 an elderly woman was resisting personal care on the 17-bed ward. Barber swore at the patient after standing on her foot to keep her still, making the woman scream out loudly.

Then between January 1, 2010 and June 20, 2011, Barber pinched a patient’s nose to force him to open his mouth so she could give him medication.

Barber also called one of her patients a ‘nutter’ when telling a woman she could not leave the ward as she was sectioned.

Barber denied all of the charges and went to one day of the four-day hearing where she represented herself.

Jack Walsh, chair of the committee, said: ‘Mrs Barber had a responsibility to safeguard the elderly and the vulnerable patients in her care.

‘Instead, she herself inflicted harm on those patients. Mrs Barber’s misconduct amounted to an abuse of the trust placed in her.’

The report added there was a ‘real risk of repetition of her misconduct in the future’ and that there was evidence of a ‘harmful deep-seated personality or attitudinal problem.’

Barber, who was employed as a mental health and elderly care nurse, can appeal.

A spokesman from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, which employed Barber and referred her to the NMC, said she was suspended before an investigation and then dismissed.

When approached by The News, Barber said she was not aware of the panel’s verdict and refused to comment.

Source: Ben Fishwick, "Gosport nurse struck off after punching dementia patient," Portsmouth News, November 19, 2013.


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