Stafford Hospital midwife struck off for patient abuse

A midwife who called a dementia patient "an animal" while working as a healthcare support worker at Stafford Hospital has been struck off.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) found Bonka Kostova had also pulled the man, 73, out of a toilet cubicle while his trousers were around his ankles.

Ms Kostova did not attend the hearing where all charges against her were proven.

Two nurses intervened after seeing the incident in July 2010.

Pushed patient

Ms Kostova, who trained as a midwife in Bulgaria, was working the night shift on 22 July when the incident happened.

Analysis

Bonka Kostova's offence happened after the catastrophe at Stafford Hospital, during which hundreds of unnecessary deaths occurred.

It shows a change in culture where this type of behaviour is not tolerated. Ms Kostova had just arrived in the UK as a qualified midwife from Bulgaria and as a stop-gap was working a healthcare assistant.

It is only because her registration as a midwife came through before the offence that she could be pursued. This judgement only affects her working as a midwife and would not stop her working as a healthcare assistant. For this reason, the Francis public inquiry found healthcare assistants should have their own governing body.

Ms Kostova is the first nurse or midwife to be removed from the register since failings at Stafford were exposed. The NMC has faced criticism as 41 nurses have been referred, but none have yet been found unfit to work.

She was employed at Stafford as a healthcare support worker between April 2009 and September 2010, the hearing at NMC offices in Old Bailey Street, London, heard.

The worker was also found to have pushed the man, named as patient A, into his wheelchair when he stood up and pushed him into a bathroom and onto a toilet.

While shouting at the patient, who had a history of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, she also told him she hated him.

The patient had been at Stafford Hospital for just over a month and was receiving treatment for kidney stones, the tribunal heard.

Staff nurses Jane Wilkinson and Lucian Smith took Ms Kostova into the office after the incident and told her the behaviour was "unacceptable". The matter was reported the next day.

Ms Kostova has now been struck off the NMC register after all charges against were found proved "and as a result her fitness to practise was found to be impaired", a spokeswoman for the council said.

Robert Courtney Harris, medical director of Mid Staffs Trust, said she was suspended following the incident and "never returned to work at our trust".

As the incident happened in July 2010, it was after the period covered by last week's Francis inquiry into Stafford Hospital.

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