A care home nurse who attended a Covid-conspiracy rally in London in her nursing uniform and claimed the virus was a hoax has been struck off. Carley Louise Stewart, of Preston, attended the mass protest in August 2020 holding a placard which read ‘Nurse on call. Where’s the pandemic?’.
The mother-of-two, who was fired from her care home job after the incident, was ruled unfit to remain a nurse by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) for both her protest attendance and multiple comments sowing distrust in official guidance.
These included accusing people abiding Covid restrictions imposed on the public at the time as ‘conducting satanic rituals and evil by complying’.
Stewart, in her early 30s, also boasted about flouting rules restricting Christmas gatherings in 2020 by hiring friends and families as temporary employees so they could visit her home.
Carley Louise Stewart, 31, of Preston, was among the 10,000 Covid-19 conspiracy theorists who took to the streets of London in August 2020 to demonstrate against lockdown restrictions and vaccinations
She was dressed in her nursing uniform and brandished a placard with the words ‘We have empty beds’ on one side and ‘Nurse on call. Where’s the pandemic?’ on the other
Stewart, who lost her job over her protest appearance, has now been struck off from the nursing register
Striking her off, the NMC said her ‘inflammatory’ comments were intended to ‘engender anger’ during the pandemic and could have potentially put members of the public at risk of harm.
Stewart, who did not attend the NMC proceedings earlier this month, faced a total of 10 charges regarding her conduct as a nurse.
These all related to her attendance at the protest wearing her nurse uniform and comments made via social media and YouTube in the aftermath.
This included claiming that Covid PCR tests people used to see if they had the virus didn’t work, and that she had seen ‘no evidence of killer virus let alone a pandemic’.
She also claimed that viruses were not actually contagious and those following Covid restrictions in 2020, like six feet social distancing, were participating in ‘satanic rituals’.
‘6 FEET 6 PEOPLE 6 MONTHS 666 If your unaware, you are conducting satanic rituals and evil by complying,’ she wrote on Facebook in September that year.
Stewart also boasted about how to get around the ‘rule of six’, a Covid restriction limiting social gatherings to six people at Christmas in 2020.
‘Right then UK government, jokes on you,» she wrote on Facebook.
‘I’m not allowed to have my family around for Christmas.
‘I AM however allowed to have employee’s around £6quid later, Fenn Settle Ltd. is now a legally registered company, registered with companies house.
‘And I can now «hire» my family and friends on a 0 hour contract, and invite them for an «unpaid works event» at my house (registered premises) regardless of any tier system and totally irrespective of the rule of 6.’
It is unknown if Stewart actually went ahead with this plan.
The NMC said the comments about Covid, restrictions and health advice, as well her appearance at the protest in her nursing uniform, were carried out contrary to official health advice, encouraged the public to disregard official guidelines and break the law, and sowed distrust in other health professionals with opposing views.
The fitness to practise panel said: ‘The panel considered Mrs Stewart’s comments to be openly critical of any of her nursing colleagues who disagreed with her views and she accused health professionals of not properly looking after the residents in their care and of having a lack of knowledge.
‘The panel was of the view that Mrs Stewart’s conduct would undermine the public’s trust in health professionals and would have the impact of some members of the public of disregarding the views of those professionals.’
They added: ‘The panel was of the view that Mrs Stewart’s behaviour was serious, presenting misleading information to the public as a registered health professional that might encourage them to disregard official health advice, potentially putting members of the public at risk of harm.’
In the ruling, the panel found all charges against her proved, adding that Stewart had demonstrated no insight into her behaviour.
While the NMC noted Stewart did have freedom of speech this was overridden ‘by the interests of public safety and protection of the public’.
Kate Shemirani was removed from the Nursing and Midwifery Council register for spreading misinformation about the pandemic
Considering the evidence, the panel said nothing short of striking Stewart off the nursing register would be sufficient.
She has 28 days to appeal the ruling which was made on August 11.
While the NMC received multiple reports of her comments and appearance at the protest in 2020 fitness to practise proceedings were delayed partly because of Stewart requesting an adjournment.
Stewart is not the first nurse to be struck off by the NMC for their role in promoting Covid misinformation.
Ex-nurse and shamed anti-vaxx campaigner Kate Shemirani, who famously compared NHS workers to Nazi war criminals and likened Covid lockdown restrictions to the Holocaust, was also stuck off by the NMC in ruling in 2021.
Almost 230,000 Brits are known to have died from Covid since the start of the pandemic.