A mental health nurse who visited a patient’s home while drunk and fell asleep in front of their family has been suspended from nursing.

Andrew Duffy, who has worked as a mental health nurse since 1997, bought a bottle of wine and drank some of it on his way to work on May 8, 2021. He was part of the crisis response home treatment team at the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust in Newcastle at the time.

He drove to a care home to assess a patient, known as Patient A, with a colleague while he was under the influence.

Read more: Council received over 250 complaints of damp and mould in rented homes

He then attended another patient’s home, Patient B, with a colleague for an assessment after driving to another shop to buy another bottle of wine to fuel his booze-up.

He even fell asleep on the job at Patient B’s home before being asked to leave by their family.

Duffy went on to bang on the door to try and get back in and while outside could be heard asking, “What the f*** is going on here?”

His actions amounted to “serious misconduct” a hearing concluded.

The nurse admitted to a misconduct hearing it was “obvious” he was drunk as his speech was slurred and speech patterns repetitive.

In an account of the incident he said: “Following [the first] assessment, I drove to a local supermarket and bought another bottle of wine. I drank approximately one quarter of this bottle. Again, I attended an assessment with my colleague.

“During the assessment it became obvious that I was intoxicated. I was repetitive in my speech patterns and my speech was slurred. I also fell asleep at one point. The daughter of the patient we were assessing became very upset and angry. She asked to speak to my colleague in the kitchen. While they spoke in the kitchen I remained in the sitting room with the patient. On returning to the living room the patient’s daughter was very upset and asked me to leave the house.”

Called as a witness, the colleague Duffy was working with said: “It became more apparent he was intoxicated the longer he spoke. His speech was slurred and was becoming circular.”

They told him to wait in the car until more colleagues arrived with police.

Duffy was later convicted of drink driving at South Tyneside Magistrates Court and banned from the roads for 20 months.

He also failed to complete adequate patient records or risk assessments on more than one occasion.

He is said to be remorseful for his actions and has been out of the profession since June 2021.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council panel decided his actions fell “well below the standards of conduct expected of a registered nurse”.

Read next:

Get more from The Northern Echo with a Premium Plus digital subscription from as little as only £1.50 a week. Click here

They added: “He clearly placed Patient A and Patient B at risk of harm by seeking to assess them whilst under the influence of alcohol when he was not fit to do so and his conduct at Patient B’s home caused that patient and their family significant emotional distress.”

The panel believed public confidence in the nursing profession would be “severely undermined” if Duffy was allowed to continue working.

The hearing held on Monday (May 22) decided Duffy should be suspended from the register for 12 months.