PUBLISHED: 10:30 March 10, 2019 | UPDATED: 13:10 10 Mar 2019
An Ipswich nurse accused of mistreating her world-famous scientist Stephen Hawking has her case heard privately.
Patricia Dowdy, 61, was temporarily suspended by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which regulates the profession. Her hearing on disciplinary punishment began on 11 February.
Dowdy was responsible for Cambridge University's clientist and author of A Short History of Time for 15 years.
Professor Hawking died in March last year at the age of 76 after living with motor neurone disease for more than 50 years.
Dowdy's hearing – which is set to be completed next week – is heard behind closed doors.
The NMC, who did not want to give details of the nature of the charge, said that sometimes the individual needs of those involved were in the public interest.
Matthew McClelland The Director of Fitness to Practice at the Nursing and Midwifery Council said, "Our legislation and guidance is very clear that hearings will usually be public.
"In some cases, including this particular case, there are reasons why this may not always be the case – due to the health of the persons involved in the case or claims related to the state of health of the nurse or midwife.
"Public interest is always taken into account, but the panel must always consider the individual needs of those affected, including all stakeholders, including families, patients, nurses, midwives, and caregivers, first.
The hearing of the NMC takes place at the NMC's London headquarters in Stratford Place, Montfichet Road.