Charge Detail Summary

File Number: Nur20/504P
Practitioner: Nicholas John Walker
Hearing Start Date:

Hearing End Date:

Hearing Town/City:
Hearing Location:
Charge Characteristics:

Authority - Lied/misled (Established)

Claiming - inappropriate

Documents/Communications - falsification


Lied/misled - attempted to involve others to authority

Additional Orders:

Name Suppression to Practitioner

Interim name suppression for the practitioner

Application for permanent suppression for the practitioner dismissed

1137Nur20504P - interim name suppression.pdf1171Nur20504P.pdf

Name Suppression to Complainant and/or Patient and/or client

Interim order for suppression of the names of the complainant and the patient

Permanent name suppression granted for the names of the complainant and the patient

1137Nur20504P - interim name suppression.pdf1171Nur20504P.pdf

Name Suppression to Witness/s and/or Family of parties

Order for permanent suppression of the name and identifying details of  patient's family members and witnesses


Other Suppression Orders

Order for permanent name suppression of the health provider and other identifying details of the patient


Appeal Order:

Appeal Decision:

Precis of Decision:


A panel of the Health Practitioner’s Disciplinary Tribunal (the Tribunal) convened 9 to 10 June 2021 to hear a charge laid by a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) appointed by the Nursing Council of New Zealand against Mr Nicholas Walker (the Nurse).

There are two Charges:

Charge 1 alleged that, When employed as a mental health nurse based in Hamilton and working as part of a team caring for a teenaged client [Patient A], on or about 18 August 2012 and/or 5 October 2012 the Nurse behaved in a fraudulent and/or dishonest and/or inappropriate manner in relation to the completion of a Ministry of Health Carer Support Claim Form dated 5 October 2012 in respect of [Patient A] which he knew was to be submitted to the Ministry of Health for payment (“the Claim Form”).

Charge 2 alleged that the Nurse conducted himself inappropriately in that on or about 21 November 2018 he sent a text message to [Mr E] encouraging him to withdraw a complaint [Mr E] had made about him to the Nursing Council of New Zealand about the matters alleged in Charge 1.

The full Charges can be found at paragraph [3] of the 1171/Nur20/504P decision document.


The Nurse trained in nursing in the United Kingdom and graduated with a Diploma in Mental Health Nursing in 1998. Between December 2011 and March 2014, he was working as a drug and alcohol mental health nurse for a healthcare provider for mental health and addictions services in Hamilton.

The Nurse first began caring for [Patient A] in 2012. [Patient A] was already a client of the healthcare provider when the nurse started working there. [Patient A] was 14 years old in 2011. He suffered from substance abuse issues and displayed a range of behavioural issues including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

By August 2013, the healthcare provider had formed concerns that the Nurse may have become over-involved in the care of the client. On 8 August 2013 the Nurse was directed to have no further contact with the client. An employment investigation later revealed that the Nurse remained in contact with the client beyond this point. The Nurse resigned from his role at the healthcare provider in March 2014.

During an investigation, the PCC obtained a copy of a fraudulent carer support claim form from the Ministry of Health which allowed the Nurse to facilitate the client staying overnight at his house on several occasions in 2012.

The first charge relates to this carer support claim form. The Nurse recorded [Mr E] as a carer (for respite care) for [Patient A] and fraudulently signed as [Mr E].  The Nurse and [Mr E] were in a relationship from 2009 to approximately late August 2012. The Nurse told [Patient A]’s parents that his partner, [Mr E], would need to be the “support carer” for the purposes of the Ministry of Health claim form as there was a conflict of interest around him providing respite care to Patient A when he was the Nurse’s client.

[Mr E] did not have any part at all in the completion or signing of the claim form.  He was first shown the form in October 2018 by the Nursing Council.  He had not ever seen it before or seen any Ministry of Health carer support claim forms before.  He did not authorise the use of his details for the document. He never met [Patient A]

The second charge relates to a text message that [Mr E] received on 17 October 2018. It read:

Probably would have been a good idea to talk to me before you made your complaint.  I don’t know what they have told you but the documents they showed you were obtained illegally and it’s going to the Hi Court because of it.  Your complaint will mean both [Patient A]’s parents will have to go on the stand as they claimed it and I was paid cash.  Would have been better to say you new [sic] nothing about it. NZNC have breached your and my privacy using legislation they have no right to use.  You didn’t need to hive [sic] permission they had already made your bank disclose that you did not revive [sic] this money.  I suggest you withdrawl [sic] your complaint before your [sic] exposed as having lied!]

This text was sent to encourage [Mr E] to withdraw a complaint he had made about the Nurse relating to the fraudulent claim form discussed under Charge 1. The Nurse admitted that he sent the text message encouraging him to withdraw the complaint.


Charge 1 – The Tribunal found the charge upheld and warranted disciplinary sanction.  The conduct was clearly contrary to Principle 8 of the Nursing Council’s Code of Conduct. The conduct was unethical and/or immoral conduct directly related to the Nurse’s role as a nurse.   It was a breach of the Nurse’s professional obligations and amounted to malpractice and conduct likely to bring discredit to the nursing profession.  The Tribunal found that reasonable members of the community would consider the conduct to lower the reputation of the nursing profession.

Charge 2 – The Tribunal found the charge upheld and warranted disciplinary sanction.   The tone of the email the Nurse sent to his ex-partner was menacing and manipulative.

A text to an ex-partner is not necessarily contrary to the Nursing Council’s “Guidelines on Social Media and Electronic Communication.” Although some text communication is covered by those Guidelines (such as texting comprehensive health matters or undertaking an assessment by text), the greater issue relating to that guideline is nurses entering into inappropriate discussions on public platforms such as Facebook or Twitter which either tend to bring the nursing profession into disrepute or breach patient confidentiality.

The issue here was that the Nurse was attempting to interfere with a lawful investigation by his professional body. The Tribunal found that reasonable members of the public, on reading such a text would consider it brings discredit to the nursing profession.


The Tribunal ordered:

  • Censure
  • Suspension for 12 months;
  • Conditions placed on his practising certificate if he returns to practice; and,
  • Payment of 35% of the costs of the Tribunal and PCC investigation, totalling $29,655.78.

The Tribunal directed publication of the decision and a summary.