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Ward manager used support worker as 'handyman', panel told

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A ward manager used a colleague as her own personal handyman and got him to mow her lawn, fix a leaking tap and install a new washing machine while he was supposed to be on duty, a nursing tribunal has ruled.

Abiola Apara got a clinical support worker to do the odd jobs which also included taking her car for an MOT, plus fitting new lights at her home where he also put sealant around her bath and fixed a conservatory lock, the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s conduct and competence committee ruled.

It became such a regular state of affairs that colleagues at the Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital in Essex nicknamed him “Mr AA just for Miss Apara” as you could expect him to be ready to attend a crisis and fixing things rather than at work.

The committee also heard that on one occasion he ended up being two-and-half hours late for his shift because he had driven Ms Apara to Ikea. He made a complaint in January 2007.

Ward manager 'had her own handyman'

It is among a series of offences which occurred between 2002 and 2007 while Ms Apara worked on the hospital’s Lionel Cousins ward, the committee, sitting in central London, ruled.

Ms Apara denied the misconduct charges claiming they were part of a trumped up “conspiracy” by her former colleagues but the panel found there was “no evidence” to back up this claim.

The NMC also found that Ms Apara had behaved inappropriately to other staff members. She ignored a ward sister for five weeks and only communicated via notes left in the staff room, it was found.

On another occasion she shouted words to the effect of “you, office, now” at a ward hostess, before ignoring her for 17 weeks.

Ms Apara had argued the allegations that she ignored staff for weeks on end and did not speak or communicate with them could not be true, stating that she held regular meetings.

A claim that Ms Apara had also asked a staff nurse to provide a reference for her daughter - whom she had never met and did not know - was also accepted by the panel.

Ms Apara, who denied the charges, had an unblemished career and had produced a good reference from her current employers in Nigeria, the tribunal heard.

A decision as to whether the charges amount to misconduct, the possible level of impairment and potential sanctions has yet to be made.

The hearing was adjourned till today at 9.30am.

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