Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability Nurse Suspended

Sent colleague 'sexually motivated' messages on WhatsApp

The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability
The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability. Picture: Google Streetview


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February 23, 2024

A nurse at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability has been suspended for another nine months after sending a nurse ‘sexually-motivated’ messages on WhatsApp. Leonajar Bato Pulido was previously found to have breached professional boundaries in respect of two nurses while working as a ward manager at the independent charity in Putney, in 2019.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) misconduct panel ruled Mr Pulido’s fitness to practice as a registered nurse remained impaired after reviewing his existing nine-month suspension order on 2 February. The panel extended the order by another nine months.

The original panel in May 2023 found Mr Pulido had breached professional boundaries by contacting a nurse, referred to as Nurse A, on WhatsApp on her personal phone on 13 and 14 September, 2019. It said he then contacted her in a personal capacity between September 15 and November 22, 2019.

The panel also breached professional boundaries by contacting another nurse, known as Nurse B, on WhatsApp in a personal capacity between 6 November and 22 November, 2019. It said his conduct in relation to this charge was “sexually motivated”.

A text from Mr Pulido to the nurse on November 11, 2019, read, “Hi Amor. It was nice to catch you in the kitchen. I won’t lie I go there to get a glimpse of you”.

A further text on 22 November 22, 2019, said, “You look busy today, its [sic]so hard to get you attention, take it easy”. Another text on the same day read: “I heard your [sic]out tonight. Enjoy central London”.

Mr Pulido failed to attend the original hearings. The panel concluded he had “very limited understanding of the seriousness of his misconduct” and had not provided evidence to show he had tried to remedy his behaviour.

The panel who reviewed the existing suspension order on 2 February found Mr Pulido’s insight was developing but not to the extent it could conclude he was safe to return to unrestricted practice. It said it was not convinced he had “fully grasped the seriousness of what happened”.

Mr Pulido, who attended the hearing, told the panel he lived in the same accommodation as the nurses and contacted them to help them settle into their new surroundings. He said he was not trying to take advantage of them, but just having casual conversations with them.

He said he had undertaken two training courses on maintaining professional boundaries while he was still working to understand how he should have acted. He added he had always tried to maintain professional boundaries with colleagues and that this was just “banter”. He told the panel he had learned from the incident and believed he was fit to practise.

Mr Pulido went on to say he had not completed any further training or kept his practice up-to-date since the suspension order had been imposed. He added the courses he had undertaken meant he better understood how to guide new nurses and maintain personal and professional boundaries with them.

But the panel ruled Mr Pulido could have been better prepared for the hearing and shown a more in-depth understanding of the impact of his actions, namely the “abuse of power, the sexual motivation and damage these behaviours would have on the reputation of the profession and the wider public interest”.

The panel’s ruling read, “The original panel determined that you were liable to repeat matters of the kind found proved. Today’s panel has not heard or received any new information to suggest otherwise. In light of this, this panel determined that you are still liable to repeat matters of the kind found proved. The panel therefore decided that a finding of continuing impairment is necessary on the grounds of public protection.”

The panel imposed a further suspension order of nine months on Mr Pulido, which will come into effect on the expiry of the original order on 15 March. It said this would give him time to fully reflect on his previous failings, along with the chance to provide evidence of his reflection and any recent training courses. Another panel will review the suspension order before it ends.

A Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), “The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability is committed to the highest standards of care and professional conduct. We are aware of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) recent decision regarding the fitness to practise of Leonajar Bato Pulido, a former ward manager at our hospital. Mr Pulido is no longer employed by the RHN and we fully respect the NMC’s process and decision to extend his suspension.

“Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our patients and staff is our utmost priority. Following the initial allegations against Mr Pulido, we took immediate action in line with our rigorous HR and safeguarding policies and procedures. We have cooperated fully with the NMC throughout their investigation and will continue to support their efforts to uphold the standards of nursing and midwifery professions and protecting the public.

“We also wish to express our gratitude to our dedicated staff who continue to provide exceptional care under the highest ethical standards. We remain dedicated to learning from this experience and to reinforcing our ‘Speak-up’ procedures and commitment to our core values.”

Charlotte Lilywhite - Local Democracy Reporter

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