Nurse cautioned for 'innapropriate' relationship with prisoner

A SUFFOLK nurse is today back at work after she was cautioned for having an “inappropriate” relationship with a patient.

Naomi Gornall

A SUFFOLK nurse is today back at work after she was cautioned for having an “inappropriate” relationship with a patient.

Tracey Garbutt, who used to be a nurse at Hollesley Bay Prison, has come under fire at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for forming an unprofessional bond with a prisoner.

The 32-year-old was dismissed from her role in 2007 when the allegations first emerged.

At the Conduct and Competence Committee panel in London earlier this month, Garbutt admitted that she sent cards and letters to the patient, who was a prisoner, which were of a personal nature, received phone calls from him, and did not report these phone calls to an appropriate staff member at the prison.

She admitted the relationship breached the NMC's code of conduct as she did not maintain a professional relationship with him.

Most Read

Simon Wilton, who was representing Garbutt, gave the panel witness statements to prove that she is performing well in her nursing duties at present, and had been “impaired” at the time of the offences.

It was heard that during this time, Garbutt was going through several difficulties in her personal life, including experiencing postnatal depression, a marriage breakdown, repossession of her home, and the terminal illness of her father.

In a report of the hearing, the NMC stated: “The registrant's [Garbutt] private life is now stable, and the unique stress factors to which she was subjected are highly unlikely to recur.

“She was just returned from a spell of sick leave and was working without appropriate management or clinical supervision.

“She accepted that what happened was wrong, and apologised, which we accept was a genuine expression of regret. The panel considered that any more onerous sanction would deprive the public of the services of a good nurse.”

She was given a caution order for four years.

A spokesman for Suffolk Community Healthcare said: “This individual was dismissed in January 2007 following an internal disciplinary hearing.

“We referred the matter to the Nursing and Midwifery Council in March 2007.”