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Professor Stephen Hawking’s former nurse struck off for failures in his care

The former nurse of Professor Hawking has been struck off. Photo: Philip Toscano/ PA

The former nurse of Professor Stephen Hawking has been struck off the nursing register after a panel ruled she did not give appropriate care to the renowned physicist.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said on Tuesday that Patricia Dowdy “failed to provide the standards of good, professional care that we expect and Professor Hawking deserved”.

The 61-year-old, who worked for the scientist for 15 years, was handed an interim suspension in March 2016.

Patricia Dowdy worked for Professor Hawking for 15 years. Credit: Chris Radburn/ PA

She faced multiple misconduct charges in relation to the care she provided to the scientist, who died in March last year at the age of 76.

The NMC said the charges included financial misconduct, dishonesty, not providing appropriate care, failing to cooperate with the nursing watchdog and not having the correct qualifications.

Matthew McClelland, director of fitness to practise at the NMC, said: “The panel has found Mrs Dowdy failed to provide the standards of good, professional care that we expect and Professor Hawking deserved.

“As a result, Mrs Dowdy will no longer be able to practice as a nurse.

“As the public rightly expects, in serious cases such as this – where a nurse has failed in their duty of care and has not been able to evidence to the panel that they have learned from their mistakes and be fit to practise – we will take action.

“We have remained in close contact with the Hawking family throughout this case and I am grateful to them – as they approach the anniversary of Professor Hawking’s death – and others for sharing their concerns with us."

A 50p coin celebrates the life and achievements of Stephen Hawking. Credit: Royal Mint/PA

The Mail on Sunday, which first reported the story, said the family of Prof Hawking had lodged a complaint which prompted the investigation into Mrs Dowdy.

A hearing into her professional conduct, which began in February, was held behind closed doors.

A spokesman for the Hawking family said in a statement issued by the NMC: “They had complete confidence in the NMC, and their thorough investigation, and trusted they would come to an independent conclusion based on the facts in the case.”

The ruling comes as a new 50p coin inspired by Prof Hawking's pioneering work on black holes was unveiled.

The coin is available to buy from the Royal Mint’s website – with prices ranging from £10 for a brilliant uncirculated version of the coin to £795 for a gold proof coin.

Professor Hawking, one of the most renowned scientists in his field, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1964 at the age of 22 and given just a few years to live.

The father-of-three was later confined to a wheelchair and relied upon a computer to communicate, but continued to travel the world to present lectures and further scientific knowledge.