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Mental health nurse suspended for calling patient a ‘queer bastard’

Nick Duffy July 31, 2017

A nurse has been suspended for calling a patient struggling with their sexuality a “queer bastard”.

Katy Bedford, who had been employed as a mental health nurse at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, was served with a four months suspension order after a misconduct hearing this month.

A Conduct and Competence Committee hearing held by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) found that the nurse had violated fitness to practise standards during an incident last year.

According to the NMC panel, Miss Bedford had encountered a patient in a nightclub whilst off-duty when she made the alleged comment.

The NMC notes: “It is alleged that Miss Bedford, during the course of the night called Service User A a ‘queer bastard’ and a ‘big bloody queer’, or words to that
effect.

“Service User A was finding it difficult to come to terms with his sexuality. He subsequently withdrew from the mental health services offered by the Trust but returned a month later after being engaged by staff.”

It is also alleged that the nurse “lifted her skirt and exposed her underwear” to another patient while in the nightclub.

The panel heard that Miss Bedford admitted using the phrase “big bloody queer”, but insisted she “did not speak in a derogatory manner”. She denied using the phrase “queer bastard”.

The decision states: “The panel determined that Miss Bedford’s actions fell significantly short of the standards expected of a registered nurse, and that her actions amounted to breaches of the Code.

“With regard to Miss Bedford’s use of offensive language to Service User A, the panel considered such behaviour to be completely unacceptable and unworthy of a registered nurse, irrespective of the context in which it was said.

“However, the impropriety of this behaviour was exacerbated in this case when considering the intended audience – a service user who had issues with his sexuality – and the immediate impact it had on him.

“The panel determined that Miss Bedford’s behaviour in this respect amounted to serious misconduct.”

It added: “The panel also considered that [a suspension] order is necessary to mark the importance of maintaining public confidence in the profession, and to send to the public and the profession a clear message about the standard of behaviour required of a registered nurse.

“The panel determined that a suspension order for a period of four months was appropriate and proportionate in this case to mark the seriousness of the misconduct,
and to give Miss Bedford an opportunity to fully reflect upon her actions and to present any future panel with evidence of remediation.”

A spokesperson for South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust told PinkNews: “We take matters regarding patient safety and professional standards very seriously. Upon investigation we felt that this incident didn’t meet the high standards we expect of our staff or those of the nursing profession.

“Disciplinary procedures were followed and a referral was made to the Nursing and Midwifery Council. We can confirm that the individual is no longer employed by the Trust.

“We continue to hold high standards for our staff so that service users are given the best care possible and services are run professionally.”

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More: Gay, Health, homophobic, lgb, LGBT, nurse, Queer

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