Nurse who paid for patient’s rent to be struck off
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A Liverpool mental health therapist is to be struck from the medical register after paying a patient’s rent and offering them access to a caravan.
George Flatt, 69, was deemed to have breached professional boundaries when he met with a female patient at her home and a pub, as well as making frequent payments to the woman. A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) fitness to practise committee was told how Mr Flatt, who had operated in Liverpool as a psychotherapist, admitted a series of charges put to him, including contacting a woman known as patient A without clinical justification.
As a result, Mr Flatt is to be struck from the register in a sanction that was deemed to “adequately protect the public.”
A report from the NMC committee held last month said between 2015 and 2021, Mr Flatt had continuing contact with the woman, known as patient A, on a non-clinical basis. For a period of eight years up to 2021, the nurse gave her money, amounting to approximately £20 – £30 per week on a regular basis.
In 2017, Patient A moved house and Mr Flatt assisted by making payments of around £375 for a month’s rent upfront, £270 administration fee and £550 in the form of a deposit. He also offered to be her guarantor, dealt with the landlord on her behalf and visited the property regularly.
The NMC panel said Mr Flatt would have been aware this was a long-term commitment. The panel was of the view that this would have placed patient A under a “significant obligation” to him as the security of her home was in his control. The panel found it both unacceptable and unethical that you would act as a personal guarantor for a former patient.
It was also agreed that Mr Flatt introduced patient A to an individual known as patient B to spend time with them in a “mutually beneficial relationship as they were both lonely.” However, patient A said patient B was unpleasant to her and would request sex via text message.
Patient A reported her relationship with Mr Flatt to her social worker in 2021.
In both 2017 and 2018, it was said Mr Flatt arranged for patient A to spend Christmas day with him and his family.
In evidence, Mr Flatt accepted the charges put to him and his representative, Neair Maqboul said the nurse was proud of his career and had reflected on his shortcomings. Despite this, the panel has found a concerning lack of insight, and consequently a significant risk of repetition.
It has found that the misconduct may be illustrative of an attitudinal problem, and that the misconduct took place over a prolonged period of time and was not a single incident. As a result, it was deemed Mr Flatt – who indicated he intends to retire in April – must be struck off to adequately protect the public.
This will take effect if no appeal is made within 28 days of the decision.