Nurses are guilty of racist abuse

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Two mental health nurses face being struck off after they were found guilty of a campaign of racist, homophobic and physical abuse.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel found Susan Horton and Sarah Cullum guilty of 60 allegations of racially abusing colleagues and seriously mistreating dementia patients at St Mary’s Hospital, Kettering, in or around June 2007.

Tom Hoskins, for the NMC, told the hearing the nurses were “engaged in widespread racial abuse of members of staff at all levels, from students to nurses at the same level and doctors”.

Horton made monkey noises and wore a four-inch golly doll on her uniform, which she used to indicate black nurses.

Cullum left a female patient on the floor for two hours until she was cold to the touch, saying: “Leave her there. She can get herself up.”

She branded another patient a “parasite” and refused to serve him any more toast when he asked for three Weetabix for breakfast.

Cullum told another man when the ward ran out of his medication: “If you can’t wait, you know where the door is.”

Horton hit and kicked a male patient in his mid-70s, although she was cleared of dragging him from his bedroom to a corridor by his feet.

Both nurses shouted at Patient B, said he smelled of urine and asked if he was gay and if he liked sharing a room with men.

NMC panel chairman John Williams said: “The panel were concerned about the cruelty of these seemingly homophobic remarks which were put across in a frivolous manner to a vulnerable patient.”

Cullum alone was found guilty of suggesting Patient B “should have come out years ago”.

Horton made monkey noises while discussing a black doctor, referred to her as “scary Mary” and said she “shouldn’t be allowed to breed”.

Cullum referred to the hospital’s Carlton ward as ‘The United Nations’ and said: “There is not a single white face, they are all black.”

Mr Williams said: “The panel considered the evidence received and found the witnesses to be genuine and brave in attending the hearing to give the evidence they did.”

The accused nurses face being struck off if the panel finds their fitness to practice is impaired when the hearing resumes later this year.