A NURSE who was aggressive to patients at an East Lancashire mental health unit – and hurled abuse at them – has been struck off.

In one episode Iain Fletcher, a staff nurse at Hillview unit, Royal Blackburn Hospital , interrupted colleagues and patients preparing a Christmas hamper and told them it was ‘tat’, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.

Hampers were being created to raise funds for the ward and Fletcher’s behaviour ‘was wholly inappropriate’, a fitness to practise panel was told.

Fletcher also indulged in a foul-mouthed rant about how he enjoyed restraining problem patients, the disciplinary hearing was told.

And he carried on regardless when ward sister Cath Rigg warned him about his language, which was peppered with F-words.

Fletcher denied several of the allegations at an internal hearing, conducted by Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the unit.

But he failed to attend the NMC hearing and a three-strong panel ruled that three main charges against him were found proven.

NMC counsel Moloney said Fletcher had returned to work after a lengthy absence and was on a trial placement in the 18-bed Ward L3 which deals with older adults with conditions such as depression and bipolar disorder.

One woman, named as Patient A, who suffered from bipolar disorder, was in the ward dining area when she began repeatedly washing her hands.

Fletcher said to her: ‘Have you finished with your OCDs?’ Later in the presence of the same patient he told a colleague: ‘All the people that are a pain should be shoved in PICU’.

This was a reference to the psychiatric intensive care ward, which colleagues felt was an ‘awful’ thing to say to a patient, the hearing was told.

Panel chairman Alexander Coleman said Fletcher had a ‘woeful lack of interpersonal skills’.

He added: “The panel found Mr Fletcher used his authority as a nurse in a bullying and dictatorial manner which distressed patients and staff.”