A PSYCHIATRIC nurse has been banned from the profession and a staff nurse at Bodmin Hospital suspended after they both had sex with vulnerable mental health patients who had been in their care.
Community psychiatric nurse Gary Tomlinson who worked with patients in Liskeard and Bodmin has been struck off the nursing register pending an appeal.
And former staff nurse Gideon Bryant has been suspended for 18 months by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) after hearings into the allegations found both cases proved.
Tomlinson worked for the North Cornwall Community Mental Health Team and had a sexual relationship with one of his female patients over two years.
Bryant, who has now been sacked from his job as a nurse at Bodmin Hospital's psychiatric intensive care unit, escaped being struck off after a hearing in London was told he formed the sexual relationship when the woman was no longer under his care.
Tomlinson formed the relationship with his patient who had a history of depression and was going through a divorce. In her evidence, she described having sex with Tomlinson on numerous occasions, and receiving text messages of an explicit nature.
The NMC said there had been repeated sexual acts with a vulnerable patient and found Tomlinson, who had denied the majority of the allegations, to be dishonest.
In its judgement, the NMC said: "Mr Tomlinson has not provided any evidence that he would not present a continued risk to patient safety were he allowed to practice unrestricted.
"The panel concluded that given Mr Tomlinson's complete lack of insight and lack of remorse, he continues to pose a risk to patients and on that basis it finds his fitness to practise currently impaired.''
The NMC said it needed to protect the public and banned Tomlinson from nursing. He has 18 months to appeal and has been suspended during that time.
The NMC heard that Bryant, a nurse at Bodmin Hospital, denied having sex with a patient while she was under his care, and the relationship had begun in August of last year after she was discharged.
The NMC told Bryant: "Your work as a nurse continues to involve dealing with vulnerable patients and the panel considered that keeping a proper relationship between a nurse and a patient should be at the forefront of your mind,'' and suspended him for 18 months.
Both nurses had been employed by the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
The trust's Sharon Linter, director of quality and governance, said: "All healthcare professionals have a duty to maintain an appropriate and professional relationship with the people in their care. This requirement is clearly set out in the codes of conduct laid down by professional bodies like the Nursing and Midwifery Council and within the trust's own policies.
"Members of staff who are found to have abused their position of trust and placed a vulnerable person at risk will be dismissed. As an employer, it is our duty to report allegations of this nature to the professional body.
"We take all alleged or suspected incidents of this nature very seriously and would encourage anyone with a concern to contact us so it can be investigated."