UK psychiatric nurse faces loss of license on charges of kissing and fondling patient

Valerie Hugo, 59, allegedly began an “inappropriate relationship” with the paranoid schizophrenic detainee, who was being held after being convicted of committing grievous bodily harm.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council heard that colleagues became aware of their intimacy after it emerged that the patient knew exactly what sex toys they had ordered from the adult shop Ann Summers.

A subsequent investigation into their relationship revealed that Mrs. Hugo had allegedly kissed the patient on more than one occasion and “fondled” him.

It is claimed that the pair spent more than 34 hours a week on the phone to each other during a seven-week fling after she gave him her mobile and home telephone numbers.

Hugo also accepted gifts from the violent offender, wrote him letters, and frequently discussed sex with him while working as his care co-ordinator at the medium-security Coastlands unit at Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, it is alleged.

Susan Vosper, who was a senior nurse at the facility at the time of the allegations in 2004, said she became suspicious after a colleague rang her and said the man, referred to as Patient A, knew intimate details about an Ann Summers party she had organised.

She told the hearing that Mrs Hugo and up to eight other nurses from the secure unit joined her at her home where they ordered items from the store’s catalogue.

Retired Mrs Vosper said: “A few days later, I was told that Patient A knew what everyone had bought.

“[The colleague] called me in the office and said ‘Patient A knows what all of you bought at the Ann Summers party’.

“We had all bought very similar items. I was unsure how Patient A could have possibly known.”

She said she was embarrassed and tried to make a joke out of the situation, telling her colleague: “I will just have to tell him that the batteries don’t last long.”

Mrs Vosper added that she believed Mrs Hugo’s alleged disclosures to Patient A and the fact that she had shared her contact details with him breached “a boundary that should never be crossed”.

She said: “These people are seriously mentally unwell. You would not want these kind of people knocking on your door at three in the morning if they abscond or are discharged.

“There’s no way you would let a patient know where you live or intimate things about yourself or your family – that’s just a big no-no, right across the board.”

The hearing was told that twice-divorced Mrs. Hugo and Patient A allegedly discussed getting married but both denied the claim when questioned by investigators.

Mrs. Hugo is also accused of failing to treat a man with dementia and Down’s syndrome–referred to as Resident A–at Oulton Park Care Home in Lowestoft, Norfolk, where she worked after leaving her position at Northgate hospital.

It is alleged that she also failed to contact the man’s family when he was on his deathbed with an infection, from which he died in December 2007.

Mrs. Hugo admitted having telephone conversations with Patient A after giving him her home phone number in 2003.

Mrs. Hugo claimed she gave Patient A her phone number because she felt sorry for him and that they only ever discussed his life history, current affairs and politics during their telephone conversations, the panel was told.

She also admits giving the drug Quetiapin to Resident A inappropriately and failing to record accurate medical notes.

The nurse denies kissing, fondling and accepting gifts from Patient A and failing to provide appropriate treatment to Resident A.

If found guilty at the fitness to practise hearing in London, she faces being struck off.

The hearing continues.

Source: Murray Wardrop, “Nurse ‘kissed and groped mental health patient after revealing hospital Ann Summers party secrets’,” The Telegraph, September 27, 2011.


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