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Care home matron 'very loving', but not 'cut out' to be manager

A matron accused of intimidating staff and talking about her sex life in front of colleagues was a “brilliant” nurse, who was “very loving and protective” towards the elderly residents at the care home where she worked, a disciplinary hearing has been told.

Sharon Talbot was described by a former colleague as a “really good” clinician who was “really, really kind” to the elderly residents of Asheborough House Care Centre in Saltash, Cornwall.

Darrell Montero, a nurse who has since left the home, told a hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in central London that Ms Talbot “probably didn’t get the support that she needed” in carrying out the job of matron at the centre.

“She was very loving towards the residents, very protective over them”

Darrell Montero

“I felt Sharon was a really brilliant clinical nurse, I felt Asheborough House was a big thing to take on and to try and manage. Probably, she didn’t get enough support that she needed and I had a good working relationship with her,” Ms Montero told the NMC conduct and competence committee.

She added: “She was actually really, really kind to the residents, she was very loving towards the residents, very protective over them.”

The evidence, given by phone to the hearing by Ms Montero, comes after members heard allegations that Ms Talbot had “belittled” and “intimidated” staff at the home.

One healthcare assistant described Ms Talbot as “Gaddafi” and told the NMC that staff were “absolutely petrified” of her.

Ms Montero was asked if she stood by answers she gave to questions put to her by Caroline Murphy, who interviewed staff after Ms Talbot resigned from the home in December 2011.

Fitness to practise panel chair Andrew Gell said: “On January 10 2012 in answer to questions that Caroline Murphy put, you used phrases such as “had no people skills, totally unprofessional” if you had answered these same questions, weeks, or months later in time, or now, if you answered them now, would you make the same answers?”

Ms Montero replied. “Yes, I would.”

Ms Talbot, who started work at the home in May 2010, has denied all the charges against her including allegations of acting in an unprofessional manner towards staff, behaving abusively, and intimidating and undermining staff members.

 

Asheborough House

Asheborough House

The allegations include a claim that she brought a sex toy into work and that she had revealed her underwear and spoke about her sex life on “numerous occasions” in the presence of staff at the home.

Ms Talbot failed to attend an end-of-life meeting with a dementia specialist at the home as she had decided to “go fishing instead”, it was also alleged.

But Tim Brown, defending Ms Talbot, said she had gone fishing with her partner and his cousins and had brought 20 mackerel back to the home, which had been cooked and served to residents.

Ms Montero told the NMC panel: “I didn’t think that Sharon was, in my opinion, cut out to be manager of Asheborough House.

“That was because it was a difficult place to manage or she didn’t have the experience to manage that home. I don’t find any fault with her as a nurse.

“She didn’t do anything that I felt was bad − in fact, from what I have seen, she was a good nurse. I do not think Sharon’s character was managerial material.”

“Any grievances raised were perceived as a personal attack by the registrant”

Neil Jeffs

Neil Jeffs, acting for the NMC, told the hearing on Monday that a letter signed by 22 staff members at the home and outlining allegations against Ms Talbot had been sent to Ms Murphy in December 2011.

“The letter … includes allegations of constant belittling of staff, staff feeling intimidated and undermined, professional opinions of staff being disregarded to suit the needs of the registrant, staff working under a threat of fear and reprisals, a fear of approaching the registrant for advice and support and the feeling that any grievances raised were perceived as a personal attack by the registrant,” he said.

Ms Murphy interviewed 28 members of staff “all of which spoke about the registrant’s unprofessional behaviour”, he said.

Readers' comments (9)

  • George Kuchanny

    Described by a former colleague as a “really good” clinician who was “really, really kind” to the elderly residents of Asheborough House Care Centre in Saltash, Cornwall. - Good enough for me.

    The rest may well be sour grapes from a group who were unused to going the extra mile for all we know. I presume former colleague Montero is not in a position to benefit from telling porkies when posting this comment.

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  • I don't know what happened here, but I know this should have absolutley nothing whatsoever to do with the NMC. This should've been dealt with by the employer as as far as I can tell, no patients have been harmed.

    Nursing homes are vipers nests staffed mostly with minimum wage individuals who would struggle to obtain gainful employment elsewhere.

    The NMC should be dealing with Mid-Staffs et al not a bunch of bit@hes who have all fallen out over a strap-on!

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  • tinkerbell

    I agree with both the above comments as it seems there was more going on here than meets the eye and possibly some maliciousness involved. If she was a good, kind, caring nurse, then that is what counts most. If no patients were harmed why was the NMC involved?

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  • tinkerbell

    Ms Montero was asked if she stood by answers she gave to questions put to her by Caroline Murphy, who interviewed staff after Ms Talbot resigned from the home in December 2011.

    Fitness to practise panel chair Andrew Gell said: “On January 10 2012 in answer to questions that Caroline Murphy put, you used phrases such as “had no people skills, totally unprofessional” if you had answered these same questions, weeks, or months later in time, or now, if you answered them now, would you make the same answers?”

    Ms Montero replied. “Yes, I would.”

    Perhaps I am reading this wrong, but I don't get the above as I thought it was Ms Montero who was saying she was a 'brilliant nurse'.

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  • George Kuchanny

    I catch your drift tinkerbell. I think Ms Montero was commenting on this caring nurse's way of interacting with people she was in charge of. Like anon above my feeling is that they have been used to being coddled by an overly sycophantic manager for ages. Perhaps nipping off to Australia where folk tell it like it is may straighten their spines a bit.

    I particularly liked the bit:

    "Ms Talbot failed to attend an end-of-life meeting with a dementia specialist at the home as she had decided to “go fishing instead”, it was also alleged.

    But Tim Brown, defending Ms Talbot, said she had gone fishing with her partner and his cousins and had brought 20 mackerel back to the home, which had been cooked and served to residents."

    Well done Ms Talbot! Too many 'end of life' 'specialists' banging on about how to covertly euthanise folk with almost no medical knowledge frankly. How hard is it to administer good palliation for heavens sake? Why a 'specialist'? There really is so little to understand. When you get to see the studies a lot of these people publish (some of the poorest and most clinically unsound you are ever likely to read) you begin to feel for true palliative care experts. They are working in a sea of self important bozos who do nothing but twist ethics with weasel words and justify with more weasel words. Bilge the lot of it. Peppered with 'good death' (euthanasia) futile care like food drink and saying 'Morning Mr Curmdudgeon who do hate today?' their papers are a waste of taxpayer dosh better spent on proper nurses.

    I'd sooner have a nice fresh mackerel caught by Ms Talbot any day of the week!

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  • George Kuchanny

    Apologies. Errata in last comment - 'futile care like food' should read ' purportedly 'futile' care like food.

    Red mist descending after reading what the Belgians are up to before logging on here is to blame. Gone bananas over there apparently, just extended their euthanasia brief to include children, the depressed and anyone they dislike. You can now interpret their law to include just about anyone. Mayhem. Nurses euthanising each other after a squabble next...

    Good opportunity exists here for the Chancellor. Open a few old fogey homes for the Dutch who are fleeing their own country in abject terror.

    Advert may read "Come to Bayview UK - only £400 a week" followed by a nice byline on how you will be greeted with a cheery "How's it hanging today Inspector Van Der Valk? Solved that 1954 case that was bothering you, you shrivelled old thing?Fancy a mackerel?"

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  • tinkerbell

    Thanks for clarifying George. I no longer trust I have all my marbles lately. Nothing much is making any sense anymore. 'Kafkaesque' as our consultant would say. I had to go away and look that word up after he sent me an email with it in, because we were both befuddled about how to access the 'funding' for a patient. The budget holders were trying to make it out that we were both 'too thick to get it' subtext.

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  • George Kuchanny

    No problem tinkerbell. After looking at Lord Falconer's effort on Pulse I think my marbles have gone as well. Weasel words from a well bred milksop (unelected) who probably has no idea how his unwanted and unnecessary legislation desires will be misused. Bonkers is kind to I will leave it at that.

    On the headline story here I hope the NMC have by now shredded the complaint stuffed it in an envelope and returned it to the complainant! First class post naturally.

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  • Kafkaeseque..the nightmare culture of double-bind lies..the loving gesture made with a hating heart..the loving family privately informing upon each other to Stasi secret police to curry favour and/or deflect interest. Death camp guards returning home to their loving partners and children. The unique potential of humanity to promote schizoid natures within a rapidly evolving understanding of truth now being increasingly defined and determined by legal verisimilitude. The NMC declaring it wrong to name the abused patient by "breaching" their confidentiality in identifying, describing, complaining about and successfully stopping the abuse. Punishing the person who stood up and said "NO NO NO"

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