A MALE nurse from South Cumbria has been struck off after having a sexual relationship with a patient with drug and mental health issues.

A misconduct hearing was told that the eight-month affair nurse Alan Wilkinson had with a patient under his care, had ruined 16 years of unblemished service.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council sitting in London, was told that the relationship began when Wilkinson was the key worker for a woman described as “Patient A.”

They became friendly over their shared interest in music. At the time, Wilkinson was working for Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in the Drug and Alcohol Team for South Cumbria. He officially resigned in June last year.

He was brought before the NMC for engaging in an “inappropriate sexual relationship with a patient between April and December 2010.”

Charges against him showed he also failed to tell bosses about the relationship which he ended when the patient began drinking alcohol again.

Wilkinson was also charged with not “maintaining boundaries” with a patient B. This related to attending her wedding and Wilkinson giving his personal work mobile number to her father.

On the latter, Wilkinson said he had done so as Patient B’s father was in charge of her care.

However, Wilkinson admitted he had broken the code of conduct.

The sexual relationship with Patient A was described as consensual, although she had “mental health and substance misuse” problems. Mr Wilkinson told the three-person panel that he felt he deserved to continue as a nurse as “his fitness to practise was not currently impaired.”

However, the panel found: “We cannot be satisfied that Mr Wilkinson is not liable to repeat behaviour of the kind which led to the misconduct. Accordingly, it has determined that he is liable in the future to put patients at unwarranted risk of harm, bring the profession into disrepute and/or breach one of the fundamental tenets of the profession.”

Wilkinson had attended two days of the hearing but checked out of his hotel on the third day. Despite efforts to trace his whereabouts, the panel completed the hearing in his absence. Finding that his fitness to practice was impaired, they imposed a striking off order and an 18-month suspension. Wilkinson was given 28 days to appeal.

A statement from the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “Mr Wilkinson resigned from the trust. The trust entirely supports the findings of the disciplinary body. Mr Wilkinson is no longer employed by Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation trust.”