Plymouth Man Accused Of Care Home Abuse

A nurse accused of ‘malicious abuse and violence’ towards Plymouth care home residents was yesterday told he will remain banned from the profession pending a full hearing.

Michael Callaghan was suspended in November for reasons of public safety while the allegations are fully investigated.

He is said to have been violent and abusive to vulnerable and mentally ill residents of the Drake Nursing Home, Stoke, over a period of nine months.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council heard that Callaghan, who protests his innocence, resigned from the home two years ago after four staff members complained about his actions.

Clare Strickland, for the NMC, told yesterday’s review hearing: “This is an allegation of sustained and malicious abuse involving vulnerable residents.

“This included violence and threats of extreme violence, and the withholding of medication when he recorded it had been given to the resident. The order does remain necessary, these are extremely serious allegations supported by evidence.”

Callaghan, who represented himself at the hearing, told the panel it caused him ‘a great deal of stress and anguish’ to be banned.

“I am afforded less rights than a burglar, arsonist or a rapist,” he said. “My innocence has not been allowed to be proven, and it will be some 26 months after the first allegations were made, and evidence has never been submitted.”

He said he resigned from the Drake Nursing Home rather than face a disciplinary hearing because he saw no way out.

“I knew from experience even if I was cleared I would never be allowed back,” he said.

“I thought it was best for me to resign from the home and continue with my own activities and never go into nursing again.”

After he resigned, Callaghan was placed on the register for the Protection of Vulnerable Adults (Pova), which effectively stopped him from getting a nursing job.

Pova removed his name from the list in September 2007 saying there was insufficient evidence to say he was a risk.

But two months later, the NMC decided he should be suspended from nursing due to the seriousness of the allegations.

The NMC panel decided the suspension should continue, but said he was due to face a full misconduct hearing in June.

Panel chair Jane Jeffs told Callaghan: “These are very serious allegations of abuse over a period of nine months.

“The allegations, although denied by the registrant, are made by four witnesses including a nurse.

“The matters alleged, if proved, would put the public at risk.”

Callaghan, who says he is now retired and completing a PhD at Exeter University, will remain banned until a hearing next month. The panel will then hear evidence and decide if he is guilty of the charges, and if to strike him off the nursing register.