A nurse who kissed and fondled a 21-year-old mental health patient in the gardens of Blackpool Victoria Hospital has been sacked and struck off.
Stelios Mitakoudis admitted the “inappropriate” relationship and was let go three months later, according to a report from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
The Vic refused to say whether the Greek national was suspended or continued to work before his dismissal.
He has now been struck off the medical register, and was told: “You took advantage of a vulnerable patient.”
The hearing was told Mitakoudis – who phoned in to the hearing from Greece and used an interpreter – had linked with the woman “on one or more social media sites” between September 2016 and April last year.
She had been admitted after an overdose attempt and was sectioned after trying to abscond, when the pair became “friendly”, the panel heard.
Last March, she was again on a ward, awaiting a bed at a mental health unit when she met Mitakoudis after a shift.
He told the panel she was “so persistent” and went with her into the garden because he thought “there may be something important she wanted to say.” But, out of sight, she sat on his lap, the pair kissed, and Mitakoudis touched her breasts, with him telling the hearing it was a “huge mistake that will never be repeated.”
The panel accepted the contact on social media, which included Mitakoudis inviting the woman to his home and on holiday, was not sexually motivated, after he argued he was “alone and isolated in a foreign country”.
He had been in the UK for around nine months, and he said the pair were of similar ages with similar interests.
The panel said it was “more likely that you hoped that a friendship, possibly leading to a relationship, might develop at a time when you felt alone and isolated in a foreign country”, its report said.
Another patient on the ward “is said to have informed” the ward manager of the pair’s “relationship, and described what is alleged to have occurred in the garden”, the report added.
Both Mitakoudis and the woman initially denied a relationship, but at an informal meeting “admitted kissing ‘Patient One’ and touching her breasts,” the report said.
He made “full admissions” at an investigatory meeting on June 9 last year, with the matter then escalated to the hospital’s associate director nursing. A disciplinary meeting on June 28 ended with Mitakoudis’ immediate sacking.
The panel said it was “concerned” by the “persistent lack of insight” into the “seriousness of his actions”.
Though the kiss in the garden “occurred in the context of a developing inappropriate relationship rather than as a result of predatory behaviour planned from the outset”, it concluded “there is a deep-seated attitudinal problem which gives rise to public protection concerns”.
The Vic confirmed it investigated and sacked Mitakoudis last June, and later referred him to the NMC.