Struck off: Race-abuse nurse who swore at Leeds patients

The Newsam centre at Seacroft, Leeds
The Newsam centre at Seacroft, Leeds
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A foul-mouthed nurse who swore at patients at a Yorkshire mental health unit and called one “Abu Hamza” has been struck off.

Christopher Cooper, 48 also racially abused one colleague and called a deaf worker a highly offensive name and covered his mouth so she could not lip read, a hearing was told.

He was sacked after the allegations came to light and has now been struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Mr Cooper, who worked at the Newsam Centre in Seacroft, Leeds, was said to have “brought the profession into disrepute”.

John Haines, chair of the NMC’s conduct and competence committee hearing, said: “His behaviour comprised serious attitudinal problems and was an abuse of his position, of his seniority over colleagues.”

Mr Cooper, who worked as a nurse for 25 years, was accused of calling a service user at the assessment and treatment ward “Abu Hamza”.

The hearing was told the man, who was from Syria, believed he was the radical cleric when he was unwell but Mr Cooper called him the name even when told the man disliked it, as well as addressing him using an abusive term.

Allegations relating to other service users included calling one “fat and lazy” and refusing to make another man’s bed and swearing about it in front of him.

Mr Cooper, who was a senior nurse on the ward, also racially abused a colleague who was originally from Zimbabwe, the hearing was told.

He was also found to have bullied a junior colleague because she is deaf.

Douglas Lloyd, for the NMC, said on several occasions in November 2011 the Mr Cooper referred to the woman by a highly-offensive term referring to her hearing impairment.

He also told her: “You only watch TV after midnight when they have that stupid little man in the corner waving his hands about” and covered his mouth so that she was not able to lip read, despite her requests for him to stop.

The allegations were found proved at the hearing.

Mr Lloyd told the tribunal Mr Cooper’s actions were likely to “impede recovery” of patients. He dismissed Mr Cooper’s written account that he was just joking when he picked on patients and staff.

“This wasn’t a Chubby Brown concert or any kind of comedy show – this was a workplace,” Mr Lloyd added.

Leeds and York Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Newsam Centre, said Mr Cooper’s employment ceased in May 2012. A spokesman added: “We dismissed Christopher Cooper for gross misconduct and reported him to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.”

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