A NURSE who repeatedly slammed the head of a patient against a mattress has been suspended from practising for 12 months.

A panel from the Nursing and Midwifery Council found at a hearing last week that Joanne Baxendale shouted at and physically assaulted a patient, while working at the Rivington Unit at Leigh Infirmary for 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

She was also found to have said to staff ‘you didn’t see that’, or words to that effect, after the incident and to have taken another service user into a non-patient area.

The panel heard evidence from six witnesses and was told that Mrs Baxendale shouted back at a patient, known as Service User A, who was ‘causing trouble’ in the activity room for between 10 and 15 minutes on June 27, 2012, contrary to the patients care plan.

Service User A was then taken to a seclusion room, where Mrs Baxendale is said to have physically assaulted the patient, who was trying to bite staff.

One witness said: “Mrs Baxendale ended up grabbing Service User A’s hair at the back of her head right at the root, and was pulling her head up with the hair and slamming it down into the mattress.

“She did this around four or five times and made the comment ‘you didn’t see that’.”

Later the same day, Mrs Baxendale took another service user into the staff kitchen, a non-patient area, causing a risk to the patient and to staff.

The panel concluded that her actions amounted to misconduct, but chose not to strike her off, due to the fact the incidents occurred in a single shift and were considered out of character.

Mrs Baxendale did not attend the hearing, but no longer works as a nurse or a carer.

A spokesman for the trust said: “An internal investigation into these allegations was completed. As a result of this, the trust complied with its statutory obligation to refer the individual to the NMC and other regulatory bodies.

“We were actively involved in the NMC’s hearing and absolutely support the findings of the NMC.”