Kent brain injury nurses 'guilty' of misconduct

Grant Clarke
Image caption Grant Clarke was admitted to the unit in 2012 after suffering a severe brain haemorrhage

Three nurses have been found guilty of professional misconduct for mistreating a man at a Kent brain injury unit.

Grant Clarke was left in urine-soaked sheets and had his emergency buzzer taken away from him, the Nursing and Midwifery Council tribunal heard.

The NHS trust responsible said it "remains appalled" by the events and apologised to Mr Clarke and his family.

But his partner Binny Moore criticised the ruling, which allows two of the three nurses to continue working.

Secret camera

Ms Moore said: "It sends a message to staff that choose to abuse patients in their care that it is fine, it's just a slap on the wrist - you can carry on doing what you are doing."

In May 2012, 43-year-old Mr Clarke, of West Kingsdown, Kent, suffered a devastating brain haemorrhage, leaving him paralysed down his left side, doubly incontinent and unable to swallow or communicate.

He was admitted to the West Kent Neuro Rehabilitation unit, run by the Kent & Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust.

But Ms Moore was so worried about him, she set up a secret camera next to his bed to monitor his treatment.

Footage showing Mr Clarke's mistreatment was subsequently broadcast by the BBC.

It showed his feeding tube being cleaned with a ballpoint pen and his emergency buzzer being taken away.

'Doesn't care'

The Nursing and Midwifery Council suspended staff nurse Vanessa Kennard from practice for 12 months.

In its last communication with Ms Kennard, the tribunal heard she was not interested in the case and "doesn't care what happens".

The case against her on 10 counts, including the removal of Mr Clarke's buzzer, continued in her absence.

Deputy ward manager Marie Banwell received a caution order for 18 months. She had admitted 13 charges but denied nine others.

Ward manager Sarah Coulter admitted 13 charges but denied four others. She has been given a caution order for 12 months.

The order will not restrict Ms Banwell or Ms Coulter from practice.

The trust said both two had undergone extensive training and performance management and had shown genuine remorse for what happened.

Mr Clarke's family said they would now pursue a case for civil damages.

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