NHS Trust acts over nurse attack
Posted Wed, 19 May 2010
A woman who attacked a nursing assistant at a Northumberland hospital has been detained after being prosecuted by NHS security chiefs.
Maria Dougherty had pleaded guilty a count of actual bodily harm in relation to the incident at Northgate Hospital in Morpeth. She was detained at Newcastle Crown Court using a section 37 Hospital Order, with a Section 41 Restriction Order also imposed.
Dougherty, 31, had been moved to a seclusion room at the hospital in July 2008 a row with a fellow patient and verbal disagreements with staff. She then pinned the nursing assistant to a wall and pulled clumps of her hair out, as well as kneeing her in the stomach and thigh and pulling on her ear.
The case was taken to court by the NHS Security Management Service (NHS SMS) after the Crown Prosecution Service had decided not to move to prosecution.
NHS SMS head Richard Hampton said: "This outcome shows that there is no automatic immunity from prosecution for violent individuals who also have mental health issues or learning disabilities."
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NHS Security Management Service