Nursing director struck off NMC register for bullying and aggression

Hazel Dinnie ‘frightened her staff to the extent that they considered leaving their roles’

Hazel Dinnie ‘frightened her staff to the extent that they considered leaving their roles’

Picture: Barney Newman

A former director of nursing at a private hospital has been struck off the NMC register for bullying, and aggressive and intimidating behaviour, which left staff ‘terrified’ to raise safety concerns.

Hazel Dinnie shouted at a colleague for spelling her name with a lower-case ‘h’ while working as director of nursing at the BMI Healthcare Albyn Hospital in Aberdeen between July 2015 and November 2016.

She also shouted and swore at colleagues, accused two of ‘meeting in secret’, and shook her fist at one colleague in front of others, a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) fitness to practise committee heard.

Putting patients at risk

At the hearing, which concluded last month, the panel found Ms Dinnie ‘deliberately bullied her staff to the point where they did not want to report concerns or near misses and who frightened her staff to the extent that they considered leaving their roles’.

The committee found that Ms Dinnie had failed to act appropriately and professionally in her leadership position, noting that she had put patients at risk because staff were ‘terrified’ to raise issues. She had also encouraged them to initially report any incidents as ‘minor’.

Reduced to tears

The panel heard how one staff member was shouted at by Ms Dinnie after logging two medication errors on an electronic reporting system before reporting them to her.

She told the panel Ms Dinnie ‘went into an absolute rage’, eventually reducing her to tears and leaving her scared to log incidents again. 

‘It was almost like she wanted to reduce me to that state and she was happy she’d achieved it,’ she told the panel.

Ms Dinnie was seconded to the BMI Healthcare Highfield Hospital in Lancashire in August 2016, but remained in her position at Albyn Hospital. She was suspended in November that year after a joint grievance was raised by both the Albyn and Highfield hospitals, and was dismissed from BMI Healthcare in May 2017.

Abuse of position

The panel said Ms Dinnie’s abuse of a senior position, lack of insight and remediation, and inappropriate behaviour towards colleagues over an extended period, were aggravating factors in her being removed from the register.

However, it noted no evidence of actual patient harm, as well as positive testimonials to Ms Dinnie’s clinical practice, and the fact that she had undertaken training, as mitigating factors in the case.

Ms Dinnie has been given 18 months in which to appeal the decision. 

Culture of caring

A spokesperson for BMI Healthcare’s Albyn Hospital said that while it was inappropriate for them to comment on individuals, they would take action against those failing to show care and respect to others. 

‘We would like to stress that we promote a culture of caring and respect for everyone within our hospital, and will always take action on anything that falls short of these expectations,’ the spokesperson added. 

Read the findings of the NMC hearing

Nursing and Midwifery Council Fitness to Practise Committee Substantive Hearing: Hazel Dinnie

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