Last week saw the final stage of the hearings, at one of numerous NMC locations that have hosted the fitness-to-practise procedures, into the lack of nursing care provided to you during the time you were in Lennox House care home, Holloway/Islington, in 2007, and just before your death. Appropriately enough, we were directly opposite the Old Bailey for the finale.
Over the main entrance to the Old Bailey, which opened in 1907, figures were placed representing fortitude, the recording angel, and truth, along with the inscription
“DEFEND THE CHILDREN OF THE POOR & PUNISH THE WRONGDOER”
As I sat in the hearing room on the 5th floor of the building, those words were directly in front of my eyes all week.
On 17th April 2013, Sheila Ali the former care home manager / nurse was struck off; her name is removed from the register of nurses allowed to provide nursing care to people. She wasn’t present to hear the decision because, overnight, she decided suddenly to withdraw from the proceedings, and to remove her instructions from the barrister who had represented her. When he announced this to the hearing, he was invited to leave. He left. So neither of them was present to hear the decision.
On 19th April 2013, Dahlia Dela Cerna/Enriquez wept as she received a 2-year caution order, having been found guilty of misconduct and with current impairment. That’s the first time she’s shown anything that resembled human emotion. They have all shown callous disregard for you – and for me.
On 21st December 2012, Catherine Igbokwe was struck off, having been found guilty of misconduct and with current impairment, so her name was removed from the register.
On 21st December 2012, Maria Rholyn Secuya/Baquerfo received a 3-year caution order, having been found guilty of misconduct and with current impairment.
The documents in the above links are very long but very detailed. Words I’ve heard used to describe the hearings include ‘complex’, ‘extremely involved’, ‘complicated’ and ‘very difficult’. The decision documents are just that too. Presumably to deter people from reading them in full, and in detail.
After you died, over 5 years ago in December 2007, there were lots of investigations and reports written, some of which I have never been allowed to see. No matter how hard I’ve tried, the words written have all been kept behind closed doors, far away from the eyes of those who cared about you. We, your family, have never been granted access to the full reports of the investigations by Islington local authority.
It was on 1st October 2008 that I first referred these nurses to the NMC. The hearings at the NMC began on 6th February 2012 and concluded almost 15 months later on 19th April 2013. Once I had been called as a witness and had given my evidence, I attended every single day as an Observer. So I observed and heard every single word spoken in public.
Needless to say, I’ve heard things said that I have never known about. I never knew before now, for example, that the care home manager Sheila Ali had been in Lennox House all day on 7 December 2007 without bothering to come to see you or to dial 999, even though she had apparently been alerted to the fact that you were in spasm for long periods, unable to speak, unable to swallow, unable to move. She didn’t care.
She didn’t care much for those residents mentioned in this article in the Daily Mail in August 2008, bearing the gruesome title ‘Care home boss suspended after dead bodies of two pensioners ‘are left for days’. That was 8 months after you’d died.
It goes without saying that there were many other revelations at the hearings too. No wonder we have never been allowed the full knowledge of your last days.
It’s been extremely difficult for me to sit through those sessions, but I owed that to you and I had to represent you. It was the only thing I could do on your behalf and in in your absence. Your voice was taken from you by Care UK and its so-called care home, Lennox House.
I’ve found it hard to be told, by the legal representatives of the nurses involved, “You have no need to be here” – “These proceedings are nothing to do with you” – “You are not involved in these proceedings”, and so on. I had every need to be there; the proceedings had much to do with me and with you; I will always remain involved. There’s more I have to tell, and tell it I will. Honestly, openly and transparently.
They took away your voice. Nobody took away my presence.