A nurse accused of pretending he was a top surgeon is to appear before the Nursing and Midwifery Council later this year, Nursing Times has learnt, following delays to the case.
Kevin O’Flanagan, who worked as a scrubs nurse at Mid Essex Hospital Services Trust, is accused of duping friends and loved ones into believing he was a doctor for nearly eight years.
“This case was postponed due to unforeseen circumstances”
He is still on the nursing register and able to practise, after the regulator opted not to impose interim sanctions ahead of his hearing.
He was due to appear before the NMC to answer 12 charges including potentially misleading or dishonest behaviour amounting to misconduct.
The charges include allowing friends and loved ones to believe he was a surgeon, specialist registrar in orthopaedic surgery or doctor from about October 2006 until about March 2014.
According to the allegations, he described his occupation as “orthopaedic practitioner” on his marriage certificate in September 2010.
He is also accused of lying on the networking site LinkedIn by claiming he was a “clinical lead of head and neck surgery” between April 2012 and April 2014.
In addition, he allegedly wrote a letter to himself in July 2011 purporting to be from a colleague and offering him a “fellowship in cranio-facial maxillary reconstruction surgery with a special interest in general orthopaedic trauma”.
Mr O’Flanagan has also been charged with claiming and being paid for 42 bank shifts he did not do.
Nursing Times understands the case was initially due to be heard by the NMC in August 2016 but the hearing was cancelled. Nearly a year later, a confirmed date for the hearing has only just been set.
“We are unable to make any further comment at this time”
Mid Essex Hospital statement
Meanwhile, Mr O’Flanagan remains on the nursing register and is free to practise as a nurse, although Nursing Times believes he is not currently working in a nursing role.
The NMC said the case had been postponed “due to unforeseen circumstances”, but was now scheduled to take place this summer.
“This case was postponed due to unforeseen circumstances that meant the hearing couldn’t proceed on the scheduled date,” said a spokesman for the regulator. “The hearing has now been scheduled for 26 June to 4 July 2017.”
The NMC said Mr Flanagan’s case had not met the threshold for taking interim sanctions that might have seen him suspended.
“As soon as a referral is received by the NMC, we take steps to determine whether any immediate restrictions on a nurse or midwife’s practise are required and where necessary, we will apply these,” said the spokesman.
“In this case, the threshold for applying an immediate restriction was not met. As there is an ongoing investigation, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further,” he said.
Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust confirmed that Mr O’Flanagan was a former employee.
“We can confirm that Mr O’Flanagan did work for the trust but due to the upcoming NMC hearing, we are unable to make any further comment at this time,” said a spokesman.