Stephen Hawking’s former nurse has been suspended as a secret hearing takes place over allegations of “serious” misconduct, it has emerged.
Patricia Dowdy, 61, has been banned from practicing since the scientist’s family lodged a complaint against her in 2016.
A hearing into the case is currently taking place at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), but the details of the allegations have been kept secret and the public and the media have been banned from attending.
The decision to hold the tribunal behind closed doors has raised concerns about open justice.
Mrs Dowdy worked for the A Brief History of Time author for around 15 years and was frequently seen at his side.
Prof Hawking died aged 76 at his Cambridge home in March last year, more than 50 years after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.
Cambridge is where the alleged “misconduct” took place, according to details on the NMC website.
Further publicly available documents show that Mrs Dowdy was suspended in March 2016, a decision which is normally only taken when the allegations are sufficiently serious.
The “substantive” hearing against her is likely to last until January 18, but it will remain behind closed doors.