Midwife visited sex shop to buy poppers during shift at NHS hospital


A senior midwife abandoned his shift as ward coordinator to travel to a local sex shop to buy poppers, a misconduct hearing was told.

Paul Johnson is facing 29 allegations of misconduct from his time being employed as a senior and central member of staff at a women and children’s hospital.

Before his 18 month suspension from his position, Johnson had been managing and coordinating the labor suite in the hospital.

Yesterday, the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s misconduct panel heard from two witnesses, who provided allegations of bullying and the inappropriate behavior they experienced while working alongside Johnson.

One of the witnesses, known only as Witness Three, told the hearing how Johnson had bragged about leaving mid-shift to visit a sex shop a ten minute drive away to buy poppers.

Paul Johnson was known for disappearing mid-shift whilst working in the Women and Children's hospital
Paul Johnson was known for disappearing mid-shift whilst working in the Women and Children’s hospital

An employee at Hull Women and Children’s Hospital since 2002, Johnson had trained Witness Three who had heard he had a reputation as someone who was difficult to work with.

She didn’t have any strong recollections of her time training under her supervision, according to the Hull Daily Mail.

However, she said when she later returned to work at the hospital after some time away he treated her in a dismissive and condescending manner.

The colleague told the hearing that Johnson would belittle and undermine her in front of patients just for asking questions or for assistance, ruining the rapport she had built with the women she was treating.

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Witness Three, who was also in a relationship with Johnson, told the hearing that during one shift as a ward coordinator, he sent her a message to gloat about leaving his post to visit a sex shop.

She said: “I was working in another ward that day, but I remember someone saying that he’d told them he was going out to move his car and then hadn’t come back.

The misconduct hearing was told how Paul Johnson abandoned his shift to visit a local sex shop to buy poppers
The misconduct hearing was told how Paul Johnson abandoned his shift to visit a local sex shop to buy poppers

“He sent me a message to say that he’d gone to Pulse and Cocktails which is probably about ten minutes away from where we work.

“I remember him coming back and gloating that it had only taken him a certain amount of time and nobody had noticed.

“He went out wearing his scrubs with something over the top of them. The rest of us wear uniforms unless there is a situation where we might come into contact with bodily fluids, but he wore them all the time.

“In the end I think it was about 18 minutes that he was gone. He’d gone to buy poppers in there, he used them for his sexual pleasure.

“He told me that he was going on holiday soon and wanted to take some poppers with him and this was his only chance to go.”

Witness Three told the hearing that this wasn’t the only time that Mr Johnson has abandoned his duties to undertake inappropriate activities and said he was well known within the hospital for disappearing when needed.

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Such was the reputation that Mr Johnson had been dubbed the “Scarlet Pimpernel” due to his habit of disappearing while on shift.

Witness Three told the hearing that during one instance she had visited the hospital on a day off to drop off a Starbucks coffee for Mr Johnson who was working.

She says he stepped into the car and the pair chatted for around 30 minutes before he left to return to work.

She said: “After he went back in he sent me a message to say that everyone had been looking for him while he was gone as a woman needed an emergency C-section and he was the senior midwife on that shift.

“The procedure required him to be there, staff had even been down to security to try and find him.

“He was known for just going off and for being found in rooms sat in the dark on his phone in the middle of a shift.

“If he went missing staff knew to go and check the empty birthing rooms as he would be propped up in a corner on his phone.

“Sometimes though you just couldn’t find him at all.”

Mr Johnson has not attended the hearing and is unrepresented during proceedings.

The hearing continues.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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