Mental health nurse struck off ‘to protect public’

A Liverpool mental health nurse has been barred from the profession six years after first being sanctioned.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has determined Donald Morgan Thompson should not be permitted to work in the health industry after initially being charged with misconduct back in 2015. The latest review of his case determined Mr Thompson – who did not engage with the NMC prior – had shown no change following the initial punishment.

As a result, he will be struck from the medical register from next month.

A public report issued by the NMC following an online hearing held in the nurse’s absence last month stated how charges dated back to an incident when Mr Thompson was working in Liverpool in 2015. It was said when he encountered a patient making a ligature attempt he did not report the incident or escalate the matter, given the individual had made previous attempts days earlier.

The mental health nurse, who first registered in July 1983, admitted the charges put to him during an initial hearing in November 2017 and as a result his fitness to practise was impaired by reason of misconduct.  Initially, Mr Thompson was issued with a conditions of practice order for a period of three years.

This was reviewed in 2020 and extended until April 2022 when he was suspended for 12 months, extended for a further six in April this year. This is due to expire in December.

Despite Mr Thompson not practising as a registered nurse since 2015 and failing to engage with the NMC for more than two years, it was felt an increase of sanction was required to “protect the public” and “satisfy the public interest.” 

The report said, “While Mr Thompson made admissions at the substantive hearing, the panel considered that his subsequent lack of engagement and willingness to achieve and demonstrate strengthened practice indicate a lack of, and diminished, level of insight. In light of Mr Thompson’s lack of insight and no evidence of strengthened practice, the panel determined that there is a risk of repetition of the misconduct and a consequent risk of harm to patients and the public. 

“The panel therefore decided that a finding of continuing impairment is necessary on the grounds of public protection.”

In deciding to formally remove the former nurse from its register, the NMC panel determined a further suspension “would not serve any useful purpose in all of the circumstances”. The report added how it was “was necessary to take action to prevent Mr Thompson from practising in the future and concluded that the only sanction that would adequately protect the public and serve the public interest was a striking off order.”

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