A 41 year old Registered Mental Health Nurse from Newport, Barnstable has been struck off the Nursing and Midwifery Register for engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a client.

Charles Henry Johnston was employed by the Devon Partnership NHS Trust. On two occasions in 2005 he failed to maintain appropriate professional boundaries with a client in his care and failed to report any concerns he may have had about maintaining these boundaries to his employer.

An independent panel of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) Conduct and Competence Committee accepted Mr Johnston's admission of the facts and took into account that he had shown some insight into his failings by choosing to resign his appointment with Riverside mental health team and disclosing the matter to his new employers at Lampton Court. The panel also noted that he has stopped nursing and recognised that he would likely be struck off the register for compromising his integrity as a nurse when he went to the client's bedroom and permitted the client to return to his own home where he spent the night with her.

Commenting on the outcome of the hearing, NMC spokesperson Leila Harris said,

"The independent panel took into account all the evidence that was proved before it, including the previous good history and the fact that this was an isolated incident and that he has taken some appropriate and corrective steps by disclosing to his new employers the facts of these matters. However, the charges were particularly serious in that they involved a vulnerable client. Mr Johnston had a duty of care that he failed to uphold when he allowed himself to succumb to a sexual relationship with the client. For this reason, the panel decided that it was in the public's best interest to strike Mr Johnston off the register."

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is the UK regulator for two professions, nursing and midwifery. The primary purpose of the NMC is protection of the public. It does this through maintaining a register of all nurses, midwives and specialist community public health nurses eligible to practise within the UK and by setting standards for their education, training and conduct. Currently the number of registrants exceeds 682,000. The Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 (The Order), sets out the NMC's role and responsibilities.

The independent panel is selected from a pool of individuals appointed by the Appointments Board. They come from a variety of backgrounds and are not NMC Council members, nor do they sit on any committee of the Council.

Nursing and Midwifery Council