Kent

Restrictions lifted on Dartford nurse who gave Bible to patient

Sarah Kuteh Image copyright PA
Image caption Sarah Kuteh said in hindsight giving her personal Bible to a patient was "going too far"

A nurse sacked from a hospital and then placed under restrictions for imposing her religious beliefs on patients has been told she is fully fit to practice.

Sarah Kuteh was dismissed from Darent Valley Hospital in Kent two years ago after giving her Bible to a patient.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said it was now in the public interest for her to return to practice.

Ms Kuteh told BBC South East she was absolutely elated at the decision because nursing was her passion.

She said: "I didn't expect to be sacked so I was shocked. This means so much to me because I can go back to the profession I love."

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust said it was pleased she could continue her career as a nurse unrestricted.

Patients' faiths

It said her case had never been about religion and she was dismissed for gross misconduct after she was made aware of several complaints from patients and asked to refrain from preaching to them.

"We took no satisfaction in having dismissed Sarah but must always act in the best interests of our patients and in accordance with professional codes of conduct," a statement said.

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The mother of three had worked at the hospital in Dartford from 2007 and had 15 years of nursing experience when she was sacked in August 2016.

Her job had involved asking patients about their faith as part of a pre-operative assessment questionnaire.

She said that although she had no intention of imposing her beliefs on others, she would sometimes tell them about how her own faith had helped her overcome adversity.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Ms Kuteh worked at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford for nine years

Ms Kuteh launched legal action in December 2016, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, and in a statement at the time she said: "How could it ever be harmful to tell someone about Jesus?"

Her dismissal was ruled as fair by an employment tribunal in April 2017.

Ms Kuteh subsequently found a new job in a nursing home, but was only allowed to work as a nurse subject to a range of conditions imposed by the NMC.

At a hearing before an NMC panel last month, her supervisor praised her as "a kind, caring, honest, friendly nurse" and "a valuable member of the team".

Ms Kuteh conceded that giving her personal bible to a patient was "going too far" and "crossing professional boundaries", and she should have used a bible from the hospital chaplaincy instead.

The NMC unanimously ruled the restrictions should end.

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