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Whipps Cross HCAs found guilty of 'wilful neglect' to be sentenced


Three female healthcare assistants who treated elderly patients in a way that ”simply had no place on any ward” are to be be sentenced.

Akousa Sakyiwaa, Annette Jackson, and Sharmila Gunda were found guilty of ill-treatment or wilful neglect of patients on Beech Ward at Whipps Cross Hospital in east London between February and April last year.

Gunda was also convicted of assault by beating following the trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court in June, a court official said.

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

Sakyiwaa, of Leytonstone, Jackson, of Hounslow; and Gunda, of Ilford, were responsible for looking after elderly female patients with various physical and mental conditions including dementia, prosecutor John McNally 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.

Barts Health trust, which runs the hospital, apologised to patients following the verdicts and stressed it had a “zero tolerance approach” to any form of neglect or ill-treatment.

In a statement, the trust said: “We apologise unreservedly to the patients of Beech Ward and their families for the indefensible failings in their treatment during their time in our care.

“There can be no place under any circumstances for such behaviour in our trust or in the wider NHS.”

It added that following an internal disciplinary investigation all three women had their contracts of employment terminated.




Readers' comments (23)

  • The student nurse who did the whistle blowing shold be commended. But why did no other staff see what has happeing there?
    Was there no R.N's who could have intervened earlier so patients were not ill treated in the first instance.
    Let's just hope these individuals never again get to work in any type of care setting.

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  • Why do people who obviously don't care work in a caring profession?

    What were the qualified staff doing that they didn't notice the behaviour of these evil women, surely that makes them guilty as well?

    Well done to the student nurse, hoping that the whole sorry episode hasn't affected you too much and that you are able to carry on with your training.

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  • all these disturbing reports in the media about care and nursing - how is it allowed to go so far before it is noticed that such extreme measures have to be taken and who has to foot the bills for these trials and investigations? these don't seem to be isolated cases and it just doesn't make sense but does rather reflected the impoverished life and services in britain in general.

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  • For me, the second worst aspect of this appalling matter is the failure of qualified staff to have acted/reported. Perhaps it's a case of misplaced camerarderie - or sheer terror due to intimidation. As said above, all credit to the student nurse and pray that there is no retribution for him/her.

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  • Tinkerbell

    Well done brave student nurse for putting patients well being before your own fear of anything else. Makes me wonder how long the abuse had been ongoing before someone brave enough to speak out showed up.

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  • I echo the praise of the student nurse that brought this to the attention of the right people! in response to the posts about how none of the RGN's responded to this could possibly be explained by the fact that students are often used as "extra hands" so therefore more likely to see the things seen by the HCA's! not an excuse or sticking up for anyone, just a possibility ...... Once again Well done to the student :o)

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  • Have the senior managers, Ward Managers, Matrons been held to account? Are they still in post despite this and the latest CQC report?

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  • tinkerbell | 23-Aug-2013 6:11 pm

    Isn't it a sad state of affairs when we have to be 'brave' to protect patients, when that is the whole point of being a nurse, isn't it?

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  • Wondering if their superior's will be reprimanded?

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  • Again...well done to the student nurse. You will make a very fine RN with your high principles and standards. Its a shame the leaders on Beech Ward did not share your values.
    Next I would like to hear the outcome of the rest of the investigation - i.e. what will happen to the 'leaders' who no doubt turned a blind eye to what was happening under their very noses.
    If I was a relative of one of these patients I would demand this and expect it to be very thorough.

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