ALLEGATIONS of misconduct against a senior mental health nurse were found proven by a disciplinary panel yesterday.
Robert Phillips appeared at a Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing charged with eight allegations of misconduct towards a female colleague while at one mental health unit in Ebbw Vale between 2009 and October 2010 and a second unit in Ebbw Vale between October 2010 and February 6, 2013.
The panel found a number of allegations proven against Phillips, including that he acted in an inappropriate manner by groping Colleague A’s breast and groping Colleague A’s crotch area while at the units.
The panel also found that the allegations of both breast groping and the allegation of crotch groping at the second unit were committed without the consent of Colleague A and were sexually motivated.
The charge that Phillips called his colleague a ‘gypo’, ‘druggie’ and ‘gupter’ while working at the second unit were proven and that he had attended her house uninvited on December 14, 2010 at 9.49pm.
Mr Phillips said: “I vehemently deny I have ever touched anyone inappropriately. I did my utmost to support everyone.
“I feel vulnerable in a lot of respects now. I don’t make contact with work colleagues as much as I used to.
“I don’t take part in banter and jokes – it’s utterly professional.”
He added: “I’m in a position of vulnerability because of these allegations.”
Phillips said that professional boundaries weren’t maintained when he arrived at the second unit.
He admitted acting inappropriately by giving Colleague A a massage in the doctor’s office of the first unit during a night shift and that he had sent her an inappropriate text message on December 12, 2010, stating: “Happy birthday have to come over and give you a kiss XXX.”
Mr Phillips said the text was not “sexually motivated” and that they were the “best of friends”. He said: “I would never touch her breast or any part of her.” Phillips told the panel that Colleague A would chase him and try to hug him.
The allegations which were found not proven were that Phillips had put his hand under the waistband of Colleague A’s trousers and inside her underwear while in the doctor’s office at the first unit during a night shift, rubbed himself against Colleague A and attempted to bite Colleague A’s neck, both while at the first unit. The panel decided not to impose an interim order, allowing Phillips to continue working as a nurse. The hearing has been adjourned until November while a penalty is considered. One of the options available to the panel is striking him off.