'Nazi salute' nurse Stephen Johnson struck off

North Essex Partnership Trust HQ building in Chelmsford
Image caption Stephen Johnson was working for North Essex Partnership Trust when the incidents happened

A senior mental health nurse who performed Nazi salutes in front of patients has been struck off.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) heard Stephen Johnson had also sent a colleague a text message showing "a vagina".

He was a deputy ward manager for North Essex Partnership Foundation Trust when the alleged incidents happened between January 2008 and October 2009.

Mr Johnson admitted sending text messages but denied the other charges.

Mr Johnson, whose request to have the case heard in private was turned down, told the panel he had resigned from the trust because his position "had become untenable".

'Vulnerable, frightened'

He claimed he was made a scapegoat to cover up for "poor management".

But the NMC panel said Mr Johnson - described as a "superb nurse" by one colleague - had taken "advantage of his position of trust as a manager on numerous occasions".

The hearing, which sat on Monday and Tuesday this week and on days in September, decided he had performed a Nazi salute to "wind up" a patient.

"The panel has concluded it is unlikely Mr Johnson would have treated a patient without a mental health disability in this manner," the panel said.

In deciding to strike him off, the panel said: "There remains a risk that in future Mr Johnson will put patients at unwarranted risk of harm, that he will bring the profession into disrepute and that he will breach the fundamental tenets of the profession."

A spokesman for the North Essex Partnership said previously Mr Johnson was no longer an employee and said: "We take all allegations very seriously and deal with them appropriately."

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