A NURSE who put a cushion over the face of a "distressed" child as a method of restraint has been suspended.

The shocking incident involving Paul Denis-Smith happened at the Royal Hospital for Children in an inpatient unit for children under 12 with mental health problems.

The child's mother, who is a nurse, made a formal complaint to the health board about the nurse, who was later deemed "not safe" to practise and moved to a non-clinical role following a string of other errors.

An inquiry by nursing regulators found he had received training in managing aggressive patients two days before the incident.

The nurse claimed he had been asked to put a cushion between the staff nurse involved in the restraint and the patient to prevent his colleagues from being “head-butted” and spat at.


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However an inquiry described his explanation as "implausible" and gave more weight to a powerful and balanced letter written by the child's mother, which was backed up by other staff.

A nurse advisor for the children and adolescent’s mental health service (CAMHS) said that "under no circumstances" would it ever be appropriate to use a cushion in a situation like this due to the risk of suffocation.

The incident happened on March 24 2016 and was followed by other clinical errors

It also emerged that the nurse was moved from Skye House at Stobhill Hospital, for patients aged 12-17, because there were concerns over his practice. It was felt that the move to the children's ward would be a "quieter environment" for him to complete extra training.


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However, other concerns were flagged up to bosses including being unaware what drugs had been given to young patients and failing to tell a colleague he had gone on a break while in charge of the ward as well as recording inaccurate information in a patient's notes.

During assessments by managers, the nurse did not appear to know that a patient suffering from an epileptic seizure should be placed in the recovery position and was unable to explain what various drugs were used for.

He resigned from his job in January this year and has now been banned from working as a nurse for the next 12 months.

The NMC said it was unable to impose a striking off order at this time because the nurse's practice was impaired "due to a lack of competence".

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At the end of the period of suspension, another panel will review the sanction.