Racist nurses struck off

Sarah Cullum, left, and Susan Horton
Sarah Cullum, left, and Susan Horton

Two nurses who staged a sickening campaign of racist abuse on a hospital ward were kicked out of the profession today, Thursday, July 4.

Susan Horton branded a junior nurse a ‘gorilla’ and clipped a four inch golliwog doll to her uniform at St Mary’s Hospital in Kettering, Northants.

She did monkey impressions while discussing a black doctor and her colleague Sarah Cullum remarked: ‘It must be difficult to stitch the lips of black dead people together, because they are so thick’.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing was told how Horton also referred to black colleagues using racist terms and remarked ‘they look like apes’.

And Cullum said ‘these will be okay, they’re all white’ when a fresh batch of student nurses came on duty.

The hearing was told after she was sacked by the hospital in 2007, Horton was hired by Wellingborough Council as a Community Safety Officer, which includes overseeing anti-social behaviour problems.

During her time at the council, Susan wrote a policy on race hate and delivered a talk on that to 300 employees at the council,’ said John Lynch, representing Horton.

Horton and Cullum were found guilty of more than 60 charges while running the Ian Bennett ward in the hospital in 2006 and 2007.

The NMC panel also found them guilty of misconduct and ordered they both be struck off today.

Horton and Cullum were both kicked out of nursing after being found guilty of a campaign of racist abuse against staff and attacks on patients.

NMC panel chairman Richard Williams reserved his harshest words for Horton who had been found guilty of making the bulk of the racist remarks.

‘There was evidence of both a homophobic attitude towards patients and a racist attitude towards colleagues, together with evidence of ill-treatment of patients’, he said.

‘The evidence suggests a pattern of and it was not an isolated incident.

‘Ms Horton has shown very little insight or remorse of her actions.’

He dismissed the suggestion a conditions of practice order or suspension from nursing would address the ‘irremediable’ misconduct which had been proved.

‘Ms Horton had personal responsibility over her behaviour towards patients and staff, which was fundamentally incompatible with being a registered nurse.

‘There was a serious departure from the relevant professional standards, and physical and emotional harm was caused to patients.’

Cullum was also struck off after blaming her behaviour on stress, a lack of adequate supervision and a series of bereavements in her family.

‘Cullum has shown a degree of insight and expressed some remorse for her actions,’ said Mr Williams.

But he said her actions outweighed her mitigating circumstances and previously good character.

‘There were various departures from professional standards and Ms Cullum acted in a way which caused harm to patients and engaged in a course of action against vulnerable patients and junior staff.’

Their names will be removed from the register for at least five years before they are allowed to apply to work as nurses again.

But she quit that job when the pending NMC case were first publicised.

Cullum quit nursing in 2010 to look after her husband.