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Care home nurse struck off from Nursing and Midwifery Council register after lying over death of Abbey Court Nursing Home resident in Bourne

A care home nurse has been struck off after lying to the family of a 73-year-old about how she had died.

Neil Wright was struck off the Nursing and Midwifery Council register after a four-day misconduct hearing last week.

Wright did not attend the hearing, but a panel of three found all eight charges against him, relating to three incidents at the Abbey Court Nursing Home, in Bourne, were proven and amounted to misconduct.

Joan George died in Abbey Court in September 2016
Joan George died in Abbey Court in September 2016

The panel found his actions fell ‘significantly short of the standards expected of a registered nurse’ and brought the profession into disrepute.

An 18-month suspension order was also imposed to cover a 28-day appeal period.

Wright, who became a registered nurse in September 2012, began working at Abbey Court in March 2016 but is no longer there.

A spokesperson for Priory Adult Care, which runs Abbey Court, said: “We expect all our nursing staff and other colleagues to uphold the highest standards of care, in the interests of those we have the privilege to look after.

“We have robust internal disciplinary measures and work closely with regulatory bodies, including the NMC, to take action where appropriate. We cannot comment further on individual cases.”

Four of the eight charges related to Wright’s actions following the death of Joan George who choked on a sandwich on September 28, 2016.

Wright was alleged to have lied to the George family over how she had died, notably her daughter-in-law Mandy George who took the initial call from Wright that night.

He said Joan had been fed her supper at 10.15pm and was put to bed before she was found to have passed away later that night.

But when Mandy visited the home the next day to collect her mother-in-law’s personal belongings she was told by a carer to ask questions ‘as they were not being told the truth about what happened’.

Documents later revealed Joan had begun choking while being fed by a care assistant and that Wright had attempted to remove the blockage, supported by other care workers, and also called 999 before she died.

At an inquest in March 2019, the coroner said ‘inadequacy of training, inadequacy of record keeping and general practices, processes and procedures not being robust enough’ had contributed to her death.

The NMC panel concluded Wright was ‘fully aware of the circumstances’ of Joan’s death, and had ‘actively’ participated in the emergency situation.

They said he had ‘not been open nor honest’ and that evidence showed the family were ‘deliberately misled’.

The other charges related to two falls by a female resident with dementia in the home’s Bluebell unit on November 6 and 8, 2019.

On both dates Wright was the only registered nurse on duty for the day shift in that unit.

After the falls, the hearing was told Wright did not do clinical observations and injury assessments, and failed to record them or report them to colleagues.

The resident was considered high risk in terms of mobility and unsafe to move independently.

The hearing was told that a day after the second fall she began vomiting black blood and was admitted to hospital where a fractured hip was discovered.

The Abbey Court manager referred Wright to the NMC over his fitness to practice the following month.

Wright ‘made some admissions during the home’s disciplinary process’, but later advised the NMC he did not admit the facts of the allegation.

Summing up, the panel said: “Both Resident A (Joan George) and Resident B were put at an unwarranted risk (which) resulted in actual harm as a result of Mr Wright’s misconduct.

“In addition, Mr Wright’s lack of candour in respect of the circumstances of Resident A’s death caused her family further distress.”

They said Wright had ample opportunities since the first referral to improve and develop but had failed to do so, or explain his actions, and believed there was a ‘risk of repetition based on the lack of insight and remediation’.

In mitigation, the hearing was told Wright may have been under stress at the time due to personal circumstances, but the panel concluded he had shown ‘very limited remorse’, and a ‘lack of meaningful engagement’ with the investigation.

“The panel’s view is that there had been evidence of a deliberate misuse of power by Mr Wright impacting on vulnerable residents, care staff dependant on Mr Wright and Resident A’s family.”

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