On Air Now
Early Breakfast with Jenni Falconer 4am - 6am
A male nurse who went on to found a rehab clinic in Essex that provided a refuge for the rich and famous is now facing allegations that he falsely represented himself as a doctor, the High Court has heard.
Brendan Quinn was the chief executive of The Causeway Retreat, whose clients included Amy Winehouse and members of some of Britain's most aristocratic families.
It was shut down after a health watchdog investigation.
A psychiatric nurse with a diploma in addiction treatment, Quinn was one of the founders of the £10,000-a-week clinic on remote Osea Island, Maldon.
The clinic was refused registration in September 2010 by the Care Quality Commission, and Quinn was suspended as a nurse by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) the following month.
Quinn's Twenty 7 Management, which had run the clinic, pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Magistrates Court on November 19 2010 to running an unlicensed hospital and was fined £8,000 plus £30,000 costs.
District Judge David Cooper said the firm's standards "would really shame a third world country".
He described Twenty 7 Management as "atrocious" and said it had been "scandalously negligent if not downright misleading and fraudulent''.
Today (Wednesday 18th) the NMC successfully applied to London's High Court for a 10-month extension of an interim order made in August last year.
That lifted the suspension on Quinn, from Lewes, East Sussex, and allowed him to work as a nurse, subject to restrictions and under close supervision.
Anupama Thompson, appearing for the NMC, said the interim order remained necessary to protect the public, and Quinn could face a hearing later this year to finally decide whether he is fit to remain on the nursing register,
Ms Thompson said Quinn faced allegations of making a number of false statements, including "holding himself out as a doctor when he was not".
Ms Thompson told High Court judge Mr Justice Cranston it was "not the most straightforward of cases" and delays had been caused by the need to interview witnesses on a number of topics.
The Council was also dealing with "a great number of cases".
Extending the interim order, the judge referred specifically to the allegation of Quinn impersonating a doctor and said it seemed to him the case involved "serious matters" that justified the extension.
Other accusations made by the NMC against Quinn contained in documents before the court include that he had allowed a number of mentally ill patients, including children, to be admitted to The Causeway between 2008-2010 after failing to ensure it was properly registered.
He is also accused of providing inadequate care, with patients being admitted without proper psychiatric assessments and a doctor not always being available to meet their needs.
Other accusations include medication being administered by unqualified staff and without valid prescriptions, and medication being stored in suitcases in an unlocked room, plus inadequate checks as to whether medication had been taken.