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Court told healthcare assistants 'beat elderly patients' at Whipps Cross

Three female healthcare assistants treated elderly patients in hospital in a way that “simply had no place on any ward” with two patients even beaten, a court has heard.

Akousa Sakyiwaa, 38, Annette Jackson, 33, and Sharmila Gunda, 36, are charged with several counts of ill-treatment or neglect under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, with Ms Sakyiwaa and Ms Gunda also charged with assault by beating.

The incidents, involving 11 patients, are alleged to have taken place from February 27 to April 30 last year on Beech Ward at Whipps Cross Hospital in east London.

Ms Sakyiwaa, of Orange Grove, Leytonstone, is charged with seven counts of ill-treatment or neglect and one count of assault by beating, while Ms Jackson, of Simpson Road, Hounslow, is charged with five counts of ill-treatment or neglect.

Ms Gunda, of Horns Road, Ilford, is charged with two counts of ill-treatment or neglect and one charge of assault by beating. They deny all the charges.

John McNally, prosecuting, told the jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court that the three women were responsible for looking after elderly female patients with various physical and mental conditions including dementia.

Ms McNally said that while these patients may have been at times obstructive and although the duties may have been unpleasant, the defendants should have taken good care of the patients, many of whom needed help with day-to-day tasks.

“These factors only serve to highlight the vulnerability of these patients,” he said.

“An entitlement to proper care should not be a matter of chance or be given at the whim of the carer. The conduct complained of simply had no place on any ward,” he told the jury.

Mr McNally said that when someone lacks capacity - the scenario a dementia sufferer may find themselves in - they should be treated with respect.

“Even when people lack capacity they don’t just become bodies to be pushed around,” he said.

Mr McNally told the jury about one incident involving “extremely frail” 92-year-old Lily Oliver.

Ms Oliver was admitted to hospital with painful swelling in her knee where she also had arthritis.

Mr McNally said Ms Oliver “depended on others for her daily living”, and said she was “bed-bound” and “not cognitively intact”.

“Lily Oliver wasn’t able to make decisions about her care,” he said.

During her time on Beech Ward, Ms Oliver was under the care of Ms Sakyiwaa, Mr McNally said.

Ms Sakyiwaa was “extremely rough with Lily Oliver” during a change of bandage, the jury heard.

He said she “grabbed Lily Oliver’s left knee with both hands and pushed it” towards another worker.

This caused her to “scream with pain and turn pale before falling silent”, Mr McNally said.

The three women were charged following a Metropolitan Police inquiry into the hospital after a student nurse acted as a whistle blower.

Only one of the 11 patients is able to give evidence at the trial which is expected to last for two weeks.

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Readers' comments (4)

  • Pauline Beldon

    Brave student nurse - well done!

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  • Right on Pauline..and lets hope she's telling the truth.

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  • In such a circumstance such complaining is a simple and safe duty of care..complaining about institutional and apparently sanctioned abuses, i.e. mis-prescribing, mis-diagnoses from senior medical colleagues, senior nurse incompetences/bullying, dangerous staffing levels, incompetent duty rota management, now that takes courage.

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  • These poor BME workers, they're obviously just being discriminated against - this is totally racist!

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