A FORMER senior nurse who swore at and physically abused dementia residents at a Gwent care home, has been struck off the nursing register.

Howard Griffiths, 55, "grossly abused his position of trust" at the Rozelle Nursing Home in Abergavenny over a number of years, a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing concluded.

A three-day NMC conduct and competence committee hearing was told that Griffiths, of Wordsworth Close, Ebbw Vale, abused patients during early 2007-August 2009. Nine allegations were found proven involving eight residents, including that he:

  • Spat in a resident's face;
  • Pulled a resident's hair;
  • Pushed one resident into an armchair and another into her bedroom and onto her bed;
  • Pulled a resident by her skirt with such force she was momentarily lifted off the ground;
  • Called a resident a "slut";
  • Began to undress a resident to change an incontinence pad in the home's lounge, in front of other residents and carers;
  • Swore and shouted at several residents.

Griffiths did not attend the hearing, and the panel concluded he had voluntarily absented himself.

The three-man NMC panel, sitting in Cardiff, found Griffiths' actions amounted to misconduct and his fitness to practise was impaired.

Its report setting out reasons for striking him off, concluded that those actions were "significant departures from the standards expected of a registered nurse, and are fundamentally incompatible with him remaining on the register.

"Nothing short of striking off would be sufficient in this case. Mr Griffiths' actions did cause harm to patients over a number of years. He grossly abused his position of trust," it concluded.

"The panel considered that this (striking off) order was necessary to protect patients, maintain public confidence in the profession and the regulatory process, and to send to the public and the profession a clear message about the standard of behaviour expected of a registered nurse."

Workers were intimidated by ‘aggressive’ manager CARE assistants told the hearing of being intimidated by Griffiths, who was night manager at the home.

Some admitted they did not mention incidents to management, or did not make formal complaints, because Griffiths was in a position of authority, because he could make their working lives difficult, and because they were afraid they would not be believed.

One, Nicola Thomas, said she had "walked out" after raising concerns over an incident where Griffiths "aggressively pushed" a resident down into an armchair, only to have the then owner believe his version of events over hers.

The panel was also informed of Griffiths' criminal conviction - at Cardiff Crown Court in July 2010 - on two counts of ill treating a person without capacity, contrary to section 44 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, for which he was sentenced to a 12-month community order and 50 hours unpaid work in the community.