A mental health nurse who performed Nazi salutes in front of his patients and his Jewish colleague has been banned from his profession for life.

Senior mental health nurse Stephen Johnson, 54, had also groped a female co-worker and sent an explicit text message to the woman working with him at a UK rehabilitation center for adults with serious and long term mental health conditions.

The father-of-two was a deputy ward manager for North Essex Partnership Foundation Trust when the incidents happened between January 2008 and October 2009, according to the BBC.

The Nursing and Midwifery disciplinary panel in the UK heard that Johnson had marched around a room full of patients and bullied a patient, who believed that the nurse of 28 years of experience was Adolf Hitler, to tears.

The panel also heard how Johnson groped a female colleague on several occasions, tried to kiss her and sent an inappropriate text with an explicit image to her phone.

Former colleagues of Johnson told the panel that Johnson has created a "culture of fear" in the unit, and that the clinic workers were too afraid for their jobs to reveal what was actually happening, until two staff members finally worked up the courage to make a complaint.

Johnson, on the other hand, only admitted to sending text messages but denied the other charges, claiming that he was made a scapegoat to cover up for "poor management".

However, the panel said that Johnson, who was described as a "superb nurse" by one co-worker, had taken "advantage of his position of trust as a manager on numerous occasions" and found him guilty of serious misconduct and took him off the nursing register for life.

The panel said that Johnson performed a Nazi salute to "wind up" a patient.

"The panel has concluded it is unlikely Mr Johnson would have treated a patient without a mental health disability in this manner," the panel concluded.

The panel said that it decided to strike Johnson off to "protect the public".

"There remains a risk that in future Mr Johnson will put patients at unwarranted risk of harm, that he will bring the profession into disrepute and that he will breach the fundamental tenets of the profession, " the panel said.