Former Northampton General Hospital nurse struck off after trying to straddle colleague

Northampton General Hospital.
Northampton General Hospital.

A Northampton General Hospital nurse, who touched a colleague's bottom and attempted to straddle her, has been banned from the profession.

Simon Carl Bates was working as a senior A&E nurse for Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust at the time.

He touched the woman's behind and placed, or attempted to place, his hand inside her skirt, the tribunal heard.

Another time, he attempted to straddle her while she was lying down on a sofa during a break. On other occasions he made derogatory comments about her appearance.

Mr Bates did not attend the Nursing and Midwifery Council's fitness to practise committee hearing earlier this month.

But he told an investigatory meeting in 2014 that he "might have pinched her bottom at some point but in a silly way, not sexually. I just try to be funny."

In relation to straddling her, he said that he "went to make her jump while she was asleep".

Whilst later working as a staff nurse in A&E for University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Mr Bates sent an inappropriate message to another colleague on Facebook.

"You got any dirty pics of anyone at work like (colleague C)," he asked.

The following month, he told a colleague in a cleaning cupboard, "I should have bent you over the bin trolley."

Mr Bates' said in a written statement that the Facebook message was a "private piece of locker room banter" and the push was a "joke only".

The Nursing & Midwifery Council (NMC) panel ruled that his "misconduct was of a repeated, sexual and inappropriate nature which would be seen as deplorable by fellow practitioners and members of the public alike".

He sought to "minimise the impact of his actions and to pass them off as light-hearted banter, despite his actions involving serious sexual misconduct".

His behaviour took place over an "extended period of time across two different hospitals", the panel added.

He "abused his position" and there were "multiple victims".

Despite a disciplinary procedure being initiated after the Northampton incidents, "he went on to another employer and engaged in conduct of a similar nature."

It was necessary to strike his name off the nursing register to provide a "clear message" about the standard of behaviour required in the profession and to 'protect potential colleagues of Mr Bates', the panel ruled.