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Nurse who groped younger female colleague suspended from practising for a year by Idowu Olabode : November 18, 2014, 07:47:18 PM
A nurse found to have repeatedly groped a female junior colleague has been suspended from practising for a year.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) professional conduct committee imposed the sanction after they ruled Robert Andrew Phillips’ fitness to practise was impaired.

They had earlier found he had repeatedly groped the woman, sent her inappropriate text messages, and called her derogatory names.Phillips, who was employed by the Aneurin Bevan Health Board and worked in Ebbw Vale, had faced a total of eight allegations of misconduct at the hearing, which began in July.

On the first day of the hearing he admitted three of the charges– including giving his colleague a massage during a night shift, sending her a birthday text message saying “Have to come over and give you a kiss” and offering her another massage when she fell down the stairs at her home.

After listening to five days of evidence the panel found the former builder had groped his colleague’s breasts and crotch without her consent, insulted her by calling her a “gypo”, “druggie” and “gupter” and went to her house uninvited.

They also found that his behaviour was sexually motivated in relation to the charges of groping.

Other allegations that Phillips had rubbed himself against his colleague, nuzzled her lap and attempted to bite her neck were not found proved.Mr Phillips said it was “laugh and a joke”.

On Monday the panel determined that the misconduct meant Mr Phillip’sfitness to practise was impaired.

Reading out the panel’s determination chairwoman Monica French said: “In the future you are likely to act appropriately with work colleagues but only to protect yourself from further allegations.”

She added: “The panel considers that your actions breach professional conduct and bring the profession into disrepute. The public at large would be concerned about the nature and extent of your actions.”

After his dismissal in 2012 Phillips then went on to work at a care home in Mon mouthshire where his sister, Beverley Evans, works as the manager.

Giving an oral reference for her brother before the panel retired to determine their sanction she said: “I was aware of the allegations prior to his employment. It was a team decision to employ him. Everyone was aware from the outset about the allegations.

“I know I’m not going to be able to find anybody if we lose Robert. It’s not his sister speaking. That’s his manager.”She said she accepted her brother had been found guilty of misconduct on the balance of probabilities.“As his sister it’s all we think about, and as a family, that anybody could have thought of saying these things about him.”

On Tuesday the panel imposed a year-long suspension on Phillips, with Ms French telling him: “The panel considers that you have not fully grasped the gravity ofyour actions or the impact this has had on Colleague A, your colleagues or the profession.“You blamed culture and a lack of training for your behaviour, which was inappropriate and amounted to sexual impropriety.“We also take into consideration the number of references, both verbal and written, which testify to the highest standards of clinical procedures.“One colleague found you to be ‘very professional, knowledgeable, caring, highly motivated and making a real difference in the lives of your patients’.“The panel have taken all this into consideration and found that a period of suspension would be appropriate.“We have concluded that a suspension order will be for the maximum length of 12 months.”The panel could have struck Phillips off the nursing register.

Ms French added: “We gave very careful consideration to astriking off order. We considered the impact you have had on your clients.“We have found you are unlikely to repeat your actions. A striking off order would at this stage be disproportionate.“It is not the only sanction sufficient to protect the public interest and confidence in the profession, which can be satisfied by a less severe outcome than permanent removal from the register.”


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