Chelmsford mental health nurse ‘left razor where patients could access it’

A Chelmsford mental health nurse has been handed sanctions for 18 months after he left a razor where patients could have accessed it.

David Woodall was employed as a registered nurse at the lower secure forensic unit at Edward House in Broomfield, Chelmsford, a service for people detained under the Mental Health Act.

According to a Nursing and Midwifery Council report, he was given a conditions of practice order for 18 months with a review after a panel found the charge proved on the balance of probabilities and amounted to serious misconduct.

A spokesperson for Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT), which runs the unit, said in a statement: “The care and safety of our patients is our number one priority. While we are unable to comment on individual cases, we will always take appropriate action in line with our policies and report concerns to the relevant regulatory body.”

According to the report, he will have to be supervised by more senior staff in any future nursing position or study, and cannot work for an agency. However, it is understood Mr Woodall is not currently working in a nursing role.

The incident took place on an unknown date, according to the report. A witness quoted in the report said they had been administering one patient, when another asked them to put away his razor and shaving foam.

They said: “I advised the patient that we were in the middle of medication and asked if he could wait until we had finished administering that particular patient’s medication.

“David proceeded to go and take the shaving foam and razor off of the patient anyway so I advised him again to wait until we had finished administering this medication.

“The patient then walked away and David left the razor and the shaving foam on the stable door shelf where anyone could have taken it away.”

The panel also found it proved on the balance of probabilities Mr Woodall wanted to administer lorazepam to an agitated patient without attempting verbal de-escalation in 2019, saying “no I didn’t want to risk it”, according to one witness in the report.

It was also found proved on the balance of probabilities he did not hand over information from an earlier shift, began to prepare medication for a patient who had not yet arrived, and administered medication from the second half of the MAR chart instead of starting from the top down, resulting in medication being omitted, in 2019.

These charges did not amount to serious misconduct, according to the report. It was also found not proved that Mr Woodall had dispensed medication without being supervised and had not completed a care plan as directed.

Mr Woodall did not attend the hearing and said in a case management form he did not wish to attend.

According to the report, he said in the form: “It is too stressful, and I have absolutely had enough of this whole process. I feel like a criminal. I definitely do not want to have to listen to people discussing me for five days.

“But anyway, I have decided for this hearing to go ahead; (not that I will be
attending). Nor will I have any legal representation – only what I have written here and previously in my defence.”

According to the report, Mr Woodall claimed in his responses to the charges that a separate witness had a “personal vendetta” against him. The report said the reason for this is unclear. The panel considered this witness’ evidence was not sole or decisive in proving any of the charges.

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Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter