Nurse who strapped patients into wheelchairs suspended

Generic image - nursing home The panel heard a resident was strapped into a wheelchair and blockaded behind a table and armchairs

A nurse who strapped patients into their wheelchairs and swore at them has been suspended for 12 months.

Melanie Doherty, who worked at La Fontana Nursing Home in Martock, Somerset, admitted restraining two patients on a night shift in 2012, contrary to their care plans.

One patient is said to have tried to walk, strapped into a wheelchair, and push a second restrained resident.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council ruled her fitness to practise was impaired.

The panel heard evidence that during a night shift in December 2012, Mrs Doherty restrained a resident by strapping her into a wheelchair and blockading her behind a table and armchairs.

'Extremely serious'

She was also said to have sworn and told colleagues to "just leave her" when the patient, with a "wheelchair around her waist", tried to push a second resident in a wheelchair.

The panel also heard Mrs Doherty, who worked at the home between April 2011 and January 2013, had failed to take appropriate steps to ensure both residents were safely released from their wheelchairs.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council said although her "misconduct was extremely serious", the suspension "would sufficiently protect the public".

In a statement Notaro Care Homes, which runs La Fontana Nursing Home, said it took the "wellbeing of its residents extremely seriously" and all incidents would be "investigated and appropriate action taken".

Mrs Doherty did not attend the hearing in London.

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