A MATRON at Basildon Hospital – who was so bad bosses sacked her and disbanded her whole team – will be able to return to work within a year.
Abiola Apara was sacked by the hospital trust after an internal probe found she was using a junior member of staff as a personal assistant at work, had faked a reference to get someone a job and bullied colleagues.
The 60-year-old – who owns a house in Shepeshall, Basildon, and flat in Copperfields, Laindon – was struck off for life from practicsing as a nurse in the UK following a Nursing and Midwifery Council misconduct hearing in March 2011.
However, Apara, who took no part in the original Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing, manged to get this ban lifted at the High Court on the grounds she was unaware it went ahead, and following a retrial she has now only been suspended.
A new panel hearing found her guilty of identical charges, apart from one, and found she had brought the profession into disrepute, putting patients at an unwarranted risk of harm.
The panel ruled she showed no remorse or insight into her offences, but still reduced her punishment to a one-year ban.
While Apara appealed the original ban she took a nursing jon in Nigeria, and her new bosses had no idea she was banned from practising in the UK, according to the panel's report.
The panel’s report said: “Such conduct may be capable of remediation, but there is no persuasive evidence before it to suggest you have sought to remedy such deficiencies.
“You maintained the allegations against you are contrived.
“You thereby demonstrated only limited reflection and insight into your misconduct. At no stage did you show any remorse.
“The panel is concerned by the discrepancies in your evidence, which raises questions about your credibility.”
The panel felt she remained at risk of putting patients in danger.
Disbanded team: Basildon Hospital
After the hearing, relatives of elderly patients who suffered on the Lionel Cousin’s ward under Abiola Apara’s management have spoken of their disgust at the new ruling.
Glynis Laing’s dad, Daniel Laing, was on the ward for six months from late 2006. Despite being at high risk of falling, he fell 13 times while unattended, including once when his elbow was ruptured on a metal catheter.
The hospital apologised to Mrs Laing, 60, of Fifth Avenue, Wickford, at the time for failings in her dad’s care.
Mrs Laing said: “I am appalled.
When I made a complaint to the hospital, I was assured she would never work for the NHS again.
“Mrs Apara was standing there and would not let me see him.
“I would go there from 11am until 10pm each day to make sure he was OK.”
Her dad survived the stay and died, aged 80, two years ago.
Appalling neglect: Catherine Talbot
Concerns about Apara came to light after complaints from people such as Mrs Laing and Eileen Curry, 69, of Weathersfield Way, Wickford, following the death of her mother Catherine Talbot, 89.
Mrs Talbot was admitted in 2007 with shingles, and died the next month from blood poisoning caused by an infection she received in hospital.
Minutes of a November 2009 hospital meeting between Mrs Curry and hospital officials stated: “The ward manager had been suspended from duty due to unacceptable activities on the ward and her general lack of leadership. The investigation resulted in the dismissal of the ward manager and the nursing team being disbanded.”
Osi Okponobi, representing Apara, argued she had been punished enough already and there should be no sanction at all.
She added Apara had since been trained in interpersonal relationships and claimed there was no evidence the misconduct impacted on patient care.
Disgusted: Eileen Curry
Alison Griffiths, representing the Nursing and Midwifery Council, accepted she had an otherwise unblemished career, failings were managerial and interpersonal, rather than clinical and there was no evidence of repetition.
The report added: “The panel took into account your misconduct is not fundamentally incompatible with your continuing to be a registered nurse because it is capable of being remedied.
“The panel determines a suspension order would afford you the opportunity to develop your insight in a way that could facilitate your safe return to work.”
* * Nigerian health bosses not told of UK hearing
ABIOLA Apara had not told the Nigerian health authorities she was struck off or facing disciplinary action because she felt it was a “personal matter”, the Nursing and Midwifery Council report said.
The report also said she did not advise the Nigerian hospital where she was working for the same reason, but then later claimed she had mentioned it during her interview.
The report said: “You initially told the panel you did not disclose to your employer in Nigeria the ongoing proceedings as you said they were ‘personal’.
“However, you subsequently stated you did advise the medical director during your interview.
You maintained throughout you have not disclosed these proceedings to the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria because they are ‘personal’. The panel finds this lack of insight particularly concerning.”
In March 2004 inappropriately asked a staff nurse to provide a reference for her daughter, who she had never met .
Date unknown shouted at a colleague in front of a patient she was washing.
Between September 2004 and January 2007 made clinical support worker Oliver Ottanes do personal tasks while on duty, including driving her to Ikea, at Lakeside, taking her car for an MoT, fitting a washing machine, fitting new lights, fixing a tap and a lock and mowing a lawn.
Date unknown shouted at a male care support worker.
In July 2005 did not speak to a ward sister for five weeks and communicated with her by notes l In 2005 and 2006 shouted at a ward hostess “You! Office now!” and did did speak to her for approximately 17 weeks.
CHARGE NOT PROVED:
On December 25, 2005, Mr Ottanes phone din sick so he could drive her to London ABIOLA Apara had not told the Nigerian health authorities she was struck off or facing disciplinary action because she felt it was a “personal matter”, the Nursing and Midwifery Council report said.