A nurse who called a man with no legs a “scrounger” – while she was doing checks on whether disabled people qualified for benefits – has escaped being struck off.
Foul-mouthed Rebecca Mellard said she wanted to remove the wheels from the man’s chair and “catapult the scrounger back to whatever s*** hole he came from”.
Mellard also made a racist remark and shared posts on Facebook from the far-right group Britain First, a hearing ruled.
At the time, she was working in Derbyshire for private firm Capita PIP, which carried out personal independence payments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.
Mellard has since been sacked by Capita – but has been allowed to keep her registration as a nurse.
A disciplinary hearing was told the incidents started in July 2014 when she posted messages on Facebook about a benefits television programme.
On July 14 she posted: “Why do our taxes keep them. He could get a job fitting carpets then maybe, just maybe, our pensioners could have the retirement they deserve.
“He’s got no f****** legs. I’d like to remove his wheels and catapult the scrounger back to whatever s*** hole he came from.”
Later that month she shared an article from the far-right organisation Britain First and inappropriately commented “political correctness gone mad”.
And in October she shared an article on her Facebook profile called “Muslim nurses refuse to wash hands before operations” and inappropriately commented “maybe they should only practice in a Muslim country then”.
She posted the messages while working in Derbyshire, visiting people to see if their disability or condition entitled them to receive government benefits.
Capita PIP was tipped off about the messages two years later in 2016.
Sarah Goldstein, of Ilkeston, had been turned down for PIPs. Her husband, Jay Goldstein, became aware of the messages and filed a complaint.
He was disgusted to hear Mellard was still on the nursing register.
Pictured Jay Goldstein and Sarah Goldstein with their daughter Aj.
Mr Goldstein, who is the full-time career for his wife, said: “What we came across was absolutely horrendous. I cannot understand why anybody would come out with that sort of language.
“She should not be working as a nurse. She should have been struck off. It’s terrible. I don’t understand how that is justified at all.
“We felt horrified when we came across the posts. And I find the outcome that she is still a nurse outrageous.”
Mellard was suspended pending an investigation and then dismissed from her job in August 2016.
The Nursing Midwifery Council looked into the case.
She admitted to it that she posted the messages and after a hearing this month, the NMC handed her a caution for three years. This does not restrict her ability to practice as a nurse but it is kept on her record.
The NMC ruled that Mellard acted “unprofessionally and brought the profession into disrepute by posting offensive discriminatory and racist material on Facebook”.
The NMC ruling said: “The registrant acted unprofessionally and brought the profession into disrepute by posting offensive discriminatory and racist material on Facebook. It is submitted that both fellow practitioners and members of the public alike would consider her actions deplorable and of a nature that inevitably has an adverse effect on the reputation of the profession. It is agreed that a finding of impairment is necessary on the grounds of public interest in order to uphold proper professional standards and uphold trust and confidence in the NMC as a regulator.”
Mellard submitted a statement to the NMC in October 2017 which apologised for her actions. It said: “I understand that these comments portray me as being prejudiced, nasty and uncaring.
“By making these comments it has brought the nursing profession’s name into disrepute, due to the association made between myself, my profession and my professional body. It could depict that the nursing profession support inappropriate behaviour from their members and that they are not a role model to be proud of.
“I feel deep remorse for my actions and the concern that if the individual had seen and read the derogatory posts they would have felt victimised or even bullied. It would have caused hurt and humiliation not only to the individual but also the profession and the public, potentially causing loss of trust and confidence in the profession.”
The ruling says Mellard has “sought to remediate her failings by demonstrating good practice as a nurse subsequent to her misconduct”.
A spokesman for Capita said it did not want to comment on the ruling.