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Mental health nurse to be struck off

A mental health nurse will be struck off after sending indecent pictures of herself to a prisoner suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

According to a report by the Lancashire Telegraph, Gemma Tomlinson was found guilty of "very serious" misconduct by a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel in London.

As well as providing her personal phone number, Tomlinson - who worked at secure mental health hospital Guild Lodge in Goosnargh - sent two pictures of herself in her underwear and sent letters deemed personal in nature to the prisoner, known as Patient A.

Tomlinson was dismissed by the trust following the allegations in April 2009.

The panel revealed while Tomlinson accepted during her disciplinary hearing in April 2009 that she had acted unprofessionally, she had earlier denied any wrongdoing and sought to maintain that because Patient A was no longer present on the ward, her contact with him was not unprofessional.

"This serious lack of judgment causes the panel concern as to the registrant's understanding of boundaries, issues, and her insight," said the panel.

"The registrant's misconduct was very serious. She failed to maintain appropriate professional boundaries with Patient A in a number of respects.

"Patient A himself was a vulnerable young man with an established diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia.

"The panel came to the conclusion that confidence in the council would be undermined if the registrant were not struck off."

The NMC panel has made an interim suspension order for a period of 18 months to cover the appeal period, for the protection of the public.

Nursing and Midwifery Council

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"I agree with the comments by Sharon. If the patient was no longer in her care and had been discharged and all interactions took place outside of work then her plea is correct and justified but the NMC is justified if this is not the case" - Michelle, London

"As a sufferer I would say a large part of the paranoia comes from not having the attentions of females. I feel she may have been providing better therapy than any hospital could. Consultancy would be more fitting" - Peter Fleming, Leicester

"If the patient was discharged and the meeting of the two was outside work when it commenced then her plea is justified
however if the patient was still or expected to be inpatient then the NMC was fully justified" - Sharon Anne Canning, Staffs