Nurse ‘sexually assaulted’ teenage patient and said he could ‘save’ her

A mental health nurse at an Essex hospital has been struck off over allegations he sexually assaulted a teenage patient.

Choon Hock Khek, a retired mental health nurse, is alleged to have sexually assaulted the patient at The Priory in Chelmsford, Essex between 2003 and 2004. He denies the allegations.

In either December 2003 or January 2004, Mr Khek was reportedly left alone with a 16-year-old girl on a mental health ward after other staff members and patients went to see a pantomime one night as part of regular rehabilitation trips.

According to allegations from the patient – who remains anonymous – Mr Khek sexually violated her, touching her inappropriately and penetrating her with his fingers. He also forced her hands onto his trousers, and kissed her on the face, mouth and neck.

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She said in a statement: “The way it worked out was that the only people left on the ward were myself and [Mr Khek]. I believe he viewed this as a window of opportunity to be alone with me.”

The alleged victim gave similar evidence to the police in interviews last year, and described being “frightened” and “frozen in shock” during the assault.

It follows allegations that months earlier, when the patient was just 15-years-old, Mr Khek stroked her hair and face, reportedly saying that he would take her on a romantic trip to London and ‘save her’.

In the patient’s witness statement, she added: “He played into my vulnerabilities. He would imply that he was going to save me and said he would take me on a romantic trip to London.

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“I believe he definitely knew what he was doing. I also believe that he took risks. Other nurses would maybe give you a hug if you were feeling upset but he would go beyond that. I believe that he pushed boundaries in respect of his behaviour and conduct.”

A Fitness to Practise Committee hearing was held earlier this month by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to decide on Mr Khek’s future after the allegations came to light in 2018.

Mr Khek refused to attend the meeting, saying: “I am not attending the hearing because the allegation did not happen and I have supported this with my statement during my police interview and also my written response to NMC.”

The panel found witness statements from the patient to be credible, alongside supporting evidence from another patient who knew the victim and was also a patient at the ward.

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Mr Assad Badruddin of the NMC said that sexual advances towards a child patient to whom he was in a position constituted a dramatic breach of trust, which violates “the fundamental tenets of the nursing profession”.

Following a four-day presentation of evidence, the committee panel decided that it “could draw no other conclusion than Mr Khek’s actions were sexually motivated in that in that he intended to pursue a future sexual relationship” with the victim.

The hearing report read: “The panel considered that the very serious breach of the fundamental tenets of the profession evidenced by Mr Khek’s misconduct is fundamentally incompatible with him remaining on the register.

“In this particular case, the panel determined that a suspension order would not be a sufficient, appropriate or proportionate sanction.”

As a result of the hearing, Mr Khek has been struck off the nursing register, and will never be able to work as a nurse if he ever chose to come out of retirement.

Essex Live