A NURSE began a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl just days after she was admitted to a Hampshire hospital following an overdose, a tribunal heard.

Thomas Simms was sacked from his job following an investigation into the allegations, the hearing was told.

Police and Hampshire health chiefs both launched investigations into the claims made by the teenager.

Simms had met her when she was rushed to the McGill Acute Admittance ward at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester on March 28, 2012.

He allegedly made contact with the patient via Facebook only a week after she had been discharged, and they began having sex soon after, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) heard.

Simms is also accused of having sex with the vulnerable girl without her consent on one occasion.

The teenager, referred to as Patient A, did not report the alleged relationship immediately, but eventually made a complaint to the hospital via email seven months later.

She also sent them alleged copies of sexually explicit messages Simms had sent her on Facebook.

During the resulting investigation, Simms admitted that he had spoken to the girl via social media, but said she had initiated the contact.

He also denied that he had sent the messages, saying he would never use the kind of language they contained.

Joanna Carter, clinical services leader at the hospital, the run by Winchester and Eastleigh NHS Trust, reported the girl's allegations to the police during her internal investigation.

Ms Carter said the trust had no specific policy on relationships and social contact with former patients, but said staff were expected to adhere to NMC guidelines.

She added that considering the girl's age and her medical history, it would never have been appropriate with Simms to have any kind of contact with her.

Following the police inquiry, the Crown Prosecution Service decided to take no further action, but Simms was dismissed from his post on March 27 last year.

Simms is accused of being engaged in an inappropriate personal relationship with Patient A, being engaged in a sexual relationship with Patient A and having sexual intercourse with Patient A without her consent and when you knew or ought to have known that she did not consent.

Simms, who was not present or represented, has made no formal admission to the charges.

If his fitness to practice is found to be impaired, he could face being struck off medical register.