District nurse struck off NMC register for 'deplorable, abhorrent' conduct
Marc Williamson was accused of trying to extract money from vulnerable patient
The ‘truly appalling conduct’ of a district nurse who tried to steal money from a patient with dementia, and put another patient’s life at risk, has led to him being struck off the register.
Marc Williamson, who worked at Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust until his dismissal in May 2016, faced misconduct charges based on incidents with two patients.
The initial referral to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in the same month by Mr Williamson’s former employer stated he had dishonestly recorded visits and events, failed to take appropriate action following missed appointments, and breached professional boundaries.
An NMC Fitness to Practise (FtP) committee hearing this month found Mr Williamson’s actions were serious enough to ban him from practice.
In the first incident, described as ‘life-threatening’, Mr Williamson failed to visit an insulin-dependent diabetic patient to administer his morning dose of insulin in December 2015, and then failed to take action to ensure the patient received necessary care.
Later that month, while on leave, Mr Williamson visited an older patient with dementia, who was known for attempting to give money to those involved in his care. Mr Williamson arrived unannounced, not in uniform and without NHS identification, leading the patient’s daughter to become concerned.
These two incidents led the trust to carry out an initial investigation.
Accessing patient records
Subsequently, while on sick leave between late December 2015 and early February 2016, Mr Williamson accessed the second patient’s records on a number of occasions, without clinical or professional reason. Telephone records showed he made ‘numerous’ attempts to call the patient between June and August 2016, when no longer employed by Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust.
On 2 August 2016, Mr Williamson visited the patient’s house in nursing uniform. Two people claimed they saw him ‘attempting to extract a quantity of money’ from the patient. One of the witnesses, the man’s neighbour, asked the patient why he was giving money to Mr Williamson. The patient told her he had asked for it.
The neighbour said Mr Williamson denied this, and was merely helping the man to count the money. The woman said Mr Williamson told her he was a district nurse and produced invalid NHS identification.
The FtP committee said Mr Williamson had embarked on ‘a premeditated, systematic and long-standing campaign’, with the intention of taking advantage of his patient’s vulnerability for financial gain.
‘To allow him to continue practising would undermine public confidence in the profession’
The regulator stated: ‘Mr Williamson’s actions were significant departures from the standards expected of a registered nurse, particularly when considering the vulnerability of the patients, and are fundamentally incompatible with him remaining on the register.
‘Mr Williamson’s actions were deplorable, abhorrent and serious. To allow him to continue practising would undermine public confidence in the profession and in the NMC.’
Lack of remorse
The FtP committee added that although Mr Williamson did express some insight into and remorse for his actions in relation to the diabetic patient, he showed none for his actions and the potential harm to the patient with dementia.
Documents show Mr Williamson told the NMC: ‘I did not inform my team lead or arrange a follow up visit and for that I will always blame myself and be forever sorry.
‘I know this impacted on my professional nursing career and again I reflect and have professed sorrow and regret. I was always proud to nurse and my career meant a lot to me.’
Mr Williamson did not attend the NMC FtP hearing, but in his last correspondence with the regulator on 15 May stated: ‘I think all that is left is for me to apologise to Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust.
'On reflection if I had just told them I wasn’t fit for work then I would have been supported, instead I worked knowing I was in the wrong mindset and I will always be so very sorry for that. I let everybody down.’
Mr Williamson was arrested on suspicion of theft and fraud by false representation in August 2016. He was subsequently released with no further action.
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