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Ian Brown, who worked at Foxhall House in Ipswich, struck off nursing register and given interim suspension order after misconduct hearing

A mental health nurse who made patients clean his car for ‘therapy’ has been struck off.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council found misconduct by Ian Brown, who worked at Foxhall House, in Ipswich, put both residents and the public at risk, which meant his fitness to practise was impaired.

He stood accused of five separate charges, four of which were proven in a hearing between June 3 and 5.

Brown worked at Foxhall House, in Ipswich. Picture: Google
Brown worked at Foxhall House, in Ipswich. Picture: Google

Brown worked at Foxhall House, a unit for offending men or men at risk of offending, run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust NSFT), between February and October 2019.

All residents had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Brown accepted the first charge, which related to getting several residents to clean his car on August 24, 2019, claiming it was for ‘therapy’.

Only one or two of the residents had permission to leave, a witness told the panel.

In response to the allegation, Brown said: “I believe it’s more constructive to wash a car than sit outside smoking.”

This charge was proven by the panel.

It was also found that Brown did not properly secure the unit on September 9, 2021, which resulted in one patient absconding.

One witness said Brown was in the garden to clear excess wood.

He left an outside gate open without telling anyone, which resulted in a patient escaping, the witness told the panel.

Another witness said it was expected that Brown would use the unit’s airlock system and ensure doors were locked to reduce the risk of anyone absconding.

The panel also heard that Brown did not follow a safety plan for a resident while their family visited on October 6, 2019.

Brown was found to have allowed the resident to leave without approval. The resident’s family were also moved through the home’s airlock system and were let into a restricted area, the panel was told.

The resident was moved outside of the building away from a camera, which was a security breach as they did not have permission to leave, one witness told the panel.

There was a high risk of drugs should the resident’s family visit, which meant it had to be planned, the witness continued.

Another witness said Brown escorted the resident and his family to a section of the home which required access to an area where visitors are prohibited to enter.

This charge was proven.

The panel was also told that Brown failed to report to senior management after another resident disclosed confidential information about a staff member.

One witness said this put the resident at risk of serious harm.

Brown told the panel he recorded the information. It was found that the information was not recorded, nor had Brown ‘completed a datix or safeguarding concern’.

This charge was also proven.

The final charge alleged that Brown did not record Section 17 leave, which was not proven by the panel.

When reaching its verdict, the panel said: “We consider the misconduct serious because Mr Brown’s actions amount to a number of serious breaches, falling far below the standards expected in the circumstances, which would be found deplorable by a fellow nursing professional.”

Brown resigned from Foxhall House in October 2019.

However, in an investigation review meeting one year later, it was found that he likely would have been dismissed for misconduct had he remained in NSFT’s employ.

The panel found Brown’s actions fell short of the standards and conduct expected of nurses.

It was deemed that striking Brown off the nursing register was ‘the only sanction which will be sufficient to protect patients and members of the public’.

He was also handed an interim suspension order for a period of 18 months.