PSYCHIATRIC nurse Dawn Spatharakis has avoided being struck off despite admitting forming an inappropriate sexual relationship with a sex offender.
Ms Spatharakis, who was employed by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust in Swindon from May 2012 until August 19, 2013, also admitted accessing his records without a clinical reason.
She has now been given a five-year caution notice, but this does not prevent her from practising.
The misconduct hearing at the Nursing and Midwifery Council also found Ms Spatharakis’s fitness to practise was impaired by reason of her misconduct. The hearing last week was told that the patient, who had a history of abuse in his childhood and issues with anger management, was allocated to Ms Spatharakis’s case load.
But after leaving to work elsewhere, she gave him her personal mobile number.
The panel was told the patient – known only as Patient A – texted asking to meet for coffee.
She initially declined but after several text messages between the pair, they met up and formed a relationship.
The relationship only came to an end when the patient started ignoring Ms Spatharakis’s messages, which then prompted her to access his records.
The hearing heard Patient A had given her approximately £200 during the relationship and she had reluctantly accepted the money.
Police carried out a routine check on the patient in October 2012 and he disclosed that Ms Spatharakis had been sending him inappropriate text messages.
After disciplinary hearings she was dismissed for gross misconduct.
An appeal against the dismissal was rejected, the hearing was told.
Lawyers acting for Ms Spatharakis had made an application for the proceedings to be heard in private in order to maintain the privacy of confidential information relating particularly to her health.
But the NMC considered the public interest in “open and transparent hearings outweighs your interest, save in matters of your health”.