AN ARSONIST agency nurse who kicked out towards a pregnant Lewisham mental patient's head has been let off with just a caution.

It took an astonishing five years for the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to discipline Oyeronke Adigun over the incident on Lewisham Hospital's antenatal ward.

And the conduct and competence committee on February 10 decided she was fit to carry on nursing, despite hearing how, two years after the incident, she had admitted setting fire to her former block of flats in Main Road, Biggin Hill, recklessly endangering life.

That matter - for which she was locked in a mental health unit because of a "a serious danger of harm to the public" - has now been referred to a health committee.

The 49-year-old had been brought in to Lewisham on February 27 2009 as an agency mental health nurse to deal with a vulnerable patient who was eight months pregnant and suffered from mental health issues

The committee heard that, early the next morning, Adigun was faced with an "exceptional" situation, in which the patient had tried to leave her room to get a knife so she could harm both herself and her unborn child.

Witnesses said Adigun blocked the door and, as the patient tried to squeeze through her legs, the nurse kicked back towards the patients head or shoulder

In their judgement, the committee said: "The panel considered that when Ms Adigun on two occasions kicked back at Patient A while blocking the door, she did so for the sole purpose of trying to prevent Patient A from hurting herself and her unborn child."

However, the committee heard that there was no harm caused to the patient, and no evidence that the kicks connected with her body.

They said: "The panel considered that Ms Adigun's misconduct was an isolated incident in an otherwise unblemished career."

It was also ruled that Adigun, who denied the offences, had no case to answer over charges she dragged the patient back to her room by her hair and slapper her. And she was cleared of swinging the patient on to her bed and, when asked to stop kicking the patient, replying: "This is how you have to treat psychiatric clients."

She was given a caution order for 18 months which will be shown on the NMC register for 18 months.

A spokesman for Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said: "Mrs Adigun was not an employee of the trust and was employed through an agency to help look after a patient who required specialist care in February 2009.

"As soon as our staff were aware of what had taken place, they took immediate action to ensure the safety of the patient, who was unharmed during the incident.  The incident was promptly escalated to senior managers and a full investigation was carried out by the trust, and all reasonable steps were taken to ensure that the relevant authorities and the employing agency were informed of the incident.

"Mrs Adigun was not permitted to return to work at the trust in any capacity."