Health worker feared groping claims wouldn’t be believed

Robert Andrew Phillips Nursing Tribunal - Robert Andrew Phillips leaving the tribunal in Cardiff. (8492158)

Robert Andrew Phillips Nursing Tribunal - Robert Andrew Phillips leaving the tribunal in Cardiff. (8492158)

First published in News
Last updated

A HEALTH worker who accused a nurse of groping her broke down in tears yesterday, as she told a disciplinary hearing she feared she would not be believed.

Robert Andrew Phillips, who was a staff nurse at a mental health unit in Ebbw Vale, is alleged to have acted inappropriately towards the woman known as colleague A and is accused of insulting her and trying to bite her neck.

The woman gave evidence via video link to a Nursing and Midwifery Council panel in Cardiff yesterday.

She claimed Phillips groped her during shifts they worked together, sometimes in the presence of others.

The allegations date from 2009 and 2010 to summer 2012, when colleague A raised concerns with a manager.

The nurse is accused of groping colleague A while giving her a massage.

Phillips, who was trained in sports massage therapy, gave massages to other colleagues so at first she thought nothing of it, she said.

But she claimed his hand strayed and he touched her as she tried to get up.

She claimed he justified his actions by saying: “What’s the matter? I thought you wanted it.”

Colleague A also claimed Phillips lay on top of her as she rested on a makeshift bed.

A fellow healthcare support worker said he witnessed Phillips call the woman a phrase similar to “dirty stinking Gipsy” because the hem of her trousers was dragging.

He said: “I felt it was an unfair comment to make to [the woman] and it was an unkind thing to say.

“I think [the woman] was upset by this and she stormed out.

“In my experience Robert has been a joy to work with and I have found him polite and respectful.”

Phillips, who used to be a builder, admitted giving the woman a massage but denied this was sexually motivated.

Colleague A told the council she had wanted to come forward with her allegations earlier but was scared.

“I was afraid no one would believe me and would back me up,” she said.

“If no one believed me I thought I could lose my job. I never wanted to make a scene.

“Nothing could have given him the impression I was sexually attracted to him. I certainly did not consent to [the inappropriate touching] at all.

“I felt like an idiot to trust him.

“I knew straight away what he had done was wrong, but I didn’t know what to do about it.

“When I was alone in the car I cried all the way home.”

The hearing is expected to last until July 28.

If Phillips is found to have acted inappropriately he could be struck off the nursing register.

The hearing was told Phillips is currently on sick leave.

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