By Rachel Schraer
A social worker with 36 years of experience has been struck off after having sex with and supplying drugs to a vulnerable young woman with mental health problems.
Nigel Lee Parsons began a long-running relationship with the woman after he was allocated to her case in February 2007. He was employed by Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health Team NHS Foundation Trust at the time.
The woman had a troubled past, which included mental health concerns and difficulties with addiction, and she had a young child, a panel of the Health and Care Professions Council’s (HCPC) conduct and competence committee heard.
Yet, as well as having a sexual relationship with her, the HCPC heard evidence that Parsons also provided her with prescription and Class A drugs, including cocaine.
Parsons was dismissed by the trust in July 2009 after a disciplinary hearing revealed he had taken the woman away for weekends, texted and called her, and visited her home. Following his dismissal, he maintained contact with her.
“This service user was particularly vulnerable and the registrant took advantage of her,” said the HCPC’s panel.
“He had a professional obligation to protect her, but rather than offer her protection he exploited her for his own sexual gratification.”
It went on to say: “Becoming sexually involved with a service user impacts upon the appropriate care that can be provided and clouds judgement.”
The fact that Parsons had no other failings recorded against his name in 36 years of practice was offered as a mitigating factor.
However, the panel found that Parsons’ lack of remorse and insight into the harm he had caused meant that the misconduct was “not remediable in this instance”.
It added: “Accordingly the risk of repetition of the same behaviour exists which means there is a risk to other service users in the future. ”
Given the seriousness of the misconduct and the fact it was carried out over a long period of time, the panel decided to remove Parsons from the register.
Parsons did not attend the hearing.