PERVERT Gavin Nicholson faces being struck off the professional nursing register for five years.
A health watchdog has ruled that the former RAF policeman be suspended for 18 months, but will be struck off if he fails to appeal.
Nicholson sexually assaulted a number of female patients who were recovering from operations and unable to move.
His victims, patients at the private Spire Washington Hospital, spoke of their horror after they were touched inappropriately by Nicholson while conscious, but recovering from procedures.
Described as “creepy” by one terrified patient, he argued that the women’s experiences in the recovery room were just sexual hallucinations brought on by the effects of the anaesthetic and denied any wrongdoing.
The 59-year-old formerly of West Avenue, Washington, was jailed for eight years at Newcastle Crown Court after being found guilty of three sexual assault charges in relation to three women and cleared of two, all of which he denied.
As well as his prison term he was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register.
A bid by Nicholson – a registered nurse since 2000 – against his criminal convictions was dismissed by the Court of Appeal earlier this year.
His case has now been heard by a Conduct and Competence Committee from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which he did not attend.
It was told that prior to his conviction, Nicholson he was “of good character” and had done much good work for charities.
However, the panel, chaired by registrant member Jennifer Laing, said that the criminal behaviour was so serious that a striking-off order had to be sought.
Its decision read: “The panel is of the view that a suspension order is not sufficient to protect or to maintain the public’s confidence in the professions or the NMC as a regulator.
“Given all the information before it, the panel did not feel satisfied that there would be no risk of repetition should Mr Nicholson be allowed to return to practice.
“Further, the criminal behaviour is so serious that it would not be appropriate to allow Mr Nicholson to remain on the register.”
The suspension order is for 18 months to allow for the possibility of an appeal to be made and determined.
If no appeal is made by Nicholson within 28 days, then the order will be replaced by the striking-off order.