Nurse struck off over relations with his patient

A Yorkshire nurse has been struck off for having sex with a vulnerable patient.

Northern General Hospital.
Northern General Hospital.

Rodney Lowther-Harris, who worked at Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, was found to have had intercourse with a 19-year-old patient who was homeless and had a history of mental health issues.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel hearing was this week told the misconduct related to a 19-year-old patient, who was under direct care of Mr Lowther-Harris on at least two occasions between October 2014 and April 2014 at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital.

The “experienced nurse” with mental health training, who did not attend the hearing, admitted charges of “commencing in an appropriate relationship with the patient” and “engaging in sexual intercourse” with her.

He was struck off the nursing register following the hearing.

The NMC panel judgement said: “The panel has found that Mr Lowther-Harris’ behaviour has undermined the trust and confidence the public has in the profession.”

The judgement added: “Accordingly, the panel has determined that Mr Lowther-Harris’ current fitness to practise is impaired by reason of his 
misconduct on public protection and public interest grounds.”

The hearing was told the patient suffered from mental health issues, had difficulties with drugs and a history of self-harming and suicide attempts.

According to medical notes, the patient was transferred to the Medical Admissions Unit from A&E after taking an overdose and found to have scratch marks made with a razor blade.

The panel heard that, as a result of being directly involved with her care, Mr Lowther-Harris would have been aware from her records of some of the personal and health difficulties she was experiencing.

CCTV showed the nurse entering the hospital grounds with the patient in April 2014.

During an interview with the NHS trust which runs the hospital, he said he kissed the patient and a short time later she discharged herself from the hospital against advice.

She left the hospital walking behind Mr Lowther-Harris, who admitted they went back to his home and had sex.

The nurse was dismissed from the hospital in September 2014.

The NMC panel judgement added: “Mr Lowther-Harris was fully aware that she was a vulnerable patient and, as an experienced nurse with mental health training, he must also have been aware of the risk of harm his actions presented to her.”