NMC defends decision over nurse who manipulated vulnerable patient’s genitals

Regulator faces criticism over fitness to practise interim conditions order

Regulator faces criticism over fitness to practise interim conditions order

The NMC has defenced a fitness to practise committee's decision in relation to the nurse
The NMC insisted the matter is being taken seriously. Picture: Barney Newman

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has defended the decision to allow a nurse who manipulated a vulnerable patient’s genitals ‘like a puppet’ to continue to practise while under investigation.

The regulator has faced criticism over a fitness to practise committee’s decision to place interim conditions on the nurse’s practice.

NMC director of fitness to practise Matthew McClelland insisted the regulator was taking the matter seriously, and said proceedings were ongoing.

Convicted of ill-treating a patient who lacked capacity

Nurse William Kennedy worked at Cwmgelli Lodge Care Home in Blackwood, Wales, a specialist facility for people over 50 with dementia or cognitive impairment, when the incident happened on 20 September 2017.

While carrying out a genital examination on a patient (referred to in proceedings as ‘Patient A’), Mr Kennedy pulled the patient’s labia apart and pretended to make it talk, saying ‘Hello, my name is [Patient A]’, in the presence of a fellow nurse and three healthcare assistants.

He was later convicted of ill-treating a patient who lacked capacity, at Gwent Magistrates Court on February 20 2018.

Conditions of practice order

On August 23, an NMC fitness to practise committee made an 18-month interim conditions of practice order with a range of conditions. These include Mr Kennedy being forbidden from carrying out intimate examinations or clinical procedures, and required to be indirectly supervised by another registered nurse while at work.

The committee said the conviction and Mr Kennedy’s alleged behaviour were ‘very serious’, noting that his probation officer’s account raised concerns about his level of insight.

NMC documentation reads: ‘She described nurse Kennedy as justifying and minimising the offence, being blasé and describing it as having been blown out of proportion, relying on the absence of sexual motivation and his own sexual orientation... suggesting his actions were caused by a failure to take his medication, describing it as a socially awkward situation, blaming those who witnessed it for his own situation.’

Independent panel to determine fitness to practise

Mr McClelland said: ‘The next step will be for an independent panel to determine whether the nurse is fit to practise and whether any further measures are required to protect the public.’

The interim order also confines Mr Kennedy’s practice to his current place of work, Royal Gwent Hospital Newport, run by the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB).

An ABUHB spokesperson said: ‘We are working with the NMC in relation to this case and are unable to provide any further details due to data protection.'

The interim order must be reviewed every six months at minimum.

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