Sheffield nurse who had sex with his vulnerable teenage patient is struck off

Northern General Hospital
Northern General Hospital
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A Sheffield hospital nurse has been struck off after having sex with a vulnerable teenage patient under his care.

Rodney Lowther-Harris, who worked at Northern General Hospital, was found to have had intercourse with a homeless 19-year-old patient who had a history of mental health issues.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel hearing was told this week that the misconduct related to a patient who was under direct care of Mr Lowther-Harris.

He was not at the hearing but had earlier admitted engaging in sexual intercourse with her.

In his interview, after the allegations had come to light, the nurse was asked whether he recognised that Patient A was vulnerable, and he said, "Yes."

But he added: "She told me that she wanted a relationship and it was me who didn’t do anything. I took the risk for love and it’s backfired.”

He was struck off the nursing register following the hearing.

The NMC panel judgement said: “The panel has found that Mr Lowther-Harris’ behaviour has undermined the trust and confidence the public has in the profession.”

The judgement added: “Accordingly, the panel has determined that Mr Lowther-Harris’ current fitness to practise is impaired by reason of his 
misconduct on public protection and public interest grounds.”

The "experienced" Sheffield nurse was directly involved in the teenager's care on at least two occasions between October 2013 and March 2014.

The patient's progress notes confirmed that she had a history of self-harming and suicide attempts, and a safeguarding referral had been made.

According to these notes, the patient was transferred to the Medical Admissions Unit from A&E after taking an overdose and also had scratch marks from a razor blade.

The panel was told that Mr Lowther-Harris "would have been aware from her care records" of some of the personal and health difficulties that the patient was experiencing at the time.

CCTV showed the nurse entering the hospital grounds with the patient in April 2014.

During an interview with the NHS trust which runs the hospital, he said he kissed the patient and a short time later she discharged herself from the hospital against advice.

She left the hospital walking behind Mr Lowther-Harris, who admitted they went back to his home and had sex.

The nurse was dismissed from the hospital in September 2014.

The NMC panel judgement added: “Mr Lowther-Harris was fully aware that she was a vulnerable patient and, as an experienced nurse with mental health training, he must also have been aware of the risk of harm his actions presented to her.”