Nurse struck off after unnecessary pelvic examination on patient and striking up sexual relationship

Female nurse who performed unnecessary pelvic examination on asthma patient after striking up sexual relationship with her is struck off

  • Julie Kirby abused her position of trust and power to exploit the female patient
  • The nurse was treating the woman at Bridport Medical Centre in Dorset
  • She had an inappropriate relationship with the patient for six months in 2019
  • A disciplinary hearing held by the Nursing and Midwifery Council struck her off

A nurse who performed an unnecessary and ‘sexually motivated’ pelvic examination on an asthma patient has been struck off.

Julie Kirby abused her position of trust and power to exploit the female patient, whom she had struck up a relationship with, heard a disciplinary panel.

The nurse, who was treating the woman for asthma, booked double appointments with her at the Bridport Medical Centre, Dorset, so they could chat about their sex lives and ‘kiss and cuddle’.

On one occasion, Mrs Kirby convinced the patient she needed to carry out a vaginal examination to make sure she didn’t have cervical cancer.

A virtual disciplinary hearing held by the Nursing and Midwifery Council concluded this was not ‘clinically justified’ and that Mrs Kirby carried it out for sexual purposes.

The nurse, who was treating the woman for asthma, booked double appointments with her at the Bridport Medical Centre, Dorset (pictured), so they could chat about their sex lives and ‘kiss and cuddle’

The nurse, who was treating the woman for asthma, booked double appointments with her at the Bridport Medical Centre, Dorset (pictured), so they could chat about their sex lives and ‘kiss and cuddle’

It also heard how the nurse did not close the curtains, so she could watch the patient get undressed.

According to the woman, Mrs Kirby told her she had not slept with her husband for two years, but she was having ‘fantastic sex’ with her old university lecturer.

The hearing heard that the nurse had an inappropriate sexual and personal relationship with the patient for six months in 2019.

When their relationship began to break down, Mrs Kirby tried to dissuade the woman from attending the clinic by telling her she was being ‘monitored’.

The disciplinary panel said she was concerned the patient ‘would divulge their relationship to the GPs at the centre’ and so had ‘good reason’ to keep the patient away.

It heard that the woman had been friends with Mrs Kirby, who qualified as a nurse in 1985, between 2015 and 2018.

The panel’s report said Mrs Kirby would have been aware of the patient’s vulnerability, having known her for several years.

Mrs Kirby initially described the allegations as ‘malicious and spurious’.

A virtual disciplinary hearing held by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (hearings centre pictured) concluded this was not ‘clinically justified’ and that Mrs Kirby carried it out for sexual purposes

A virtual disciplinary hearing held by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (hearings centre pictured) concluded this was not ‘clinically justified’ and that Mrs Kirby carried it out for sexual purposes

But she later she admitted in a statement that she should have set ‘clear sexual boundaries and not allowed the relationship to progress’.

She said: ‘The incident involved me developing a close friendship and short relationship with a patient.

‘In relation to the extent of a relationship, this was limited to kissing and cuddling.

‘Allowing a relationship to develop not only compromised me professionally, I breached the professional confidence and trust that they deserved as a patient.’

The panel heard how the patient experienced serious ‘emotional and psychological harm’ and required counselling because of Mrs Kirby’s conduct.

It described the nurse’s breach of professional standards as ‘extremely serious’.

The panel concluded Mrs Kirby’s actions fell ‘significantly short’ of the standards expected and allowing her to continue as a nurse ‘would undermine public confidence in the profession’.

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