Nurse suspended for trying to persuade schizophrenic woman to buy herbal remedies

Grace Loughran, 53, met ‘vulnerable, naive and impressionable’ patient at treatment centre in Harlesden

A psychiatric nurse who tried to persuade a schizophrenic woman to buy herbal remedies from a company she was connected with has been suspended.

Grace Loughran, 53, arranged to meet the patient and take her to a Chinese medicine shop in Colindale.

The woman, who is known as Patient A, first met Loughran in 2007 when she began attending the Roundwood Day Treatment Centre in Harlesden, but stopped going after the shop episode on September 9, 2009.

The woman became suspicious when Loughran tried to take bank account details from her.

Today (Monday), a string of charges against her were found proved at a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing.

But Loughran was suspended for four months after the panel ruled she had not acted dishonestly and had not sought to persuade the woman that alternative remedies would be better than conventional medicine.

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Polly Clarke, chair of the GMC panel, said the nurse’s actions had nonetheless compromised the patient’s care.

But she added: “In mitigation, Miss Loughran has apologised, had no intent to cause any harm, and any financial gain would have been moderate.

“She has also showed remorse.”

An investigation was launched after Patient A told psychiatrist Ooshar Mestry about her meeting with Loughran.

Hannah Fellows, for the NMC, told the panel Dr Mestry had described Patient A as vulnerable, naive, impressionable and open to exploitation.

Loughran, who did not attend the NMC hearing, admitted she did not declare her involvement with the Chinese herbal company Tiens as a conflict of interest to her employers.

But the panel found that she had not acted dishonestly in this regard.

The nurse also admitted that she had tried to sell Patient A the herbs with the intention of obtaining financial gain.