Mental health nurse 'had relationship with ex-patient'

A mental health nurse started a relationship with a former patient through Facebook just two weeks after she left his care, a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) disciplinary hearing was told today.

Timothy Hyde was not present at today's conduct and competence committee hearing in central London but admitted the relationship before an earlier disciplinary panel.



He is alleged to have conducted an inappropriate relationship with the woman between April and August 2008 which included a sexual relationship.



The panel was told they chatted on Facebook, went to a pub and met at the Glastonbury and Summer Solstice festivals.



Mr Hyde, 40, who worked as a community psychiatric nurse at the Wells Community Health Team and Glastonbury Health Centre, in Somerset, also watched a video at the woman's house.



Dr Muriel Churchill, who treated the patient after the relationship with Mr Hyde, said she was vulnerable with a long history of self harm which was often prompted by the breakdown of relationships.



"I feel Mr Hyde had abused his position and broke the trust he should have had with his patient," she said.



Asked if socialising with patients was inevitable in a small community like Wells, Dr Churchill said: "I understand they started chatting on Facebook so he didn't have to go out to meet her.



"He didn't meet her in the street. He was chatting online to her and they arranged to go for a coffee. That's how she described the start of their relationship."



Dr Churchill, who reported the relationship, said Mr Hyde must have known how vulnerable the woman was and that if the relationship ended it might trigger her to self harm.



"He should have known better," she added.



Panel chairwoman Winsome Levy said the charges had been found proved and members would now consider if Mr Hyde's fitness to practise was impaired.



Liz Forbes, presenting the case for the NMC, said his behaviour quite clearly amounted to misconduct.



She read extracts from a letter which Mr Hyde wrote to the NMC in May in which he accepted he had been "grossly unprofessional" and said he had chosen not to practise in the field of mental health in future.



"I deeply regret my actions," he wrote.



He had circled "yes" on a form which asked if he admitted his fitness to practise was impaired.



Ms Forbes said the panel should consider the "very short" gap between the therapeutic and personal relationships and the vulnerability of the patient who she said had self harmed for 15 years.



At a previous disciplinary hearing Mr Hyde had said it was "inhuman" that he had been suspended and confirmed he had told the woman words to the effect that he did not have room in his life for "someone like her" and blocked her from his Facebook page.



Ms Forbes said Mr Hyde showed a lack of insight and his fitness to practise was clearly impaired.



The panel is expected to make its decision this afternoon.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future