North West Wales

Marie Sloan 'did not respect nuns' at Llandudno retreat

Loreto Retreat Image copyright Jeff Buck
Image caption Ms Sloan spent four years working at the retreat

A care manager at a religious retreat trawled social networking sites looking for stories about the elderly nuns she looked after, a professional hearing has heard.

Marie Sloan, 57, worked at the Sisters of Loreto retreat in Llandudno for four years but was sacked in 2012.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) was told she showed no respect to the nuns, many of them in their 80s and 90s.

Ms Sloan is not at the Cardiff hearing.

She is accused of "a catalogue of misconduct" during her four years at the retreat and faces four charges, containing 15 allegations at the fitness to practice hearing in Cardiff.

'Contacting ex-pupils'

On the second day of the fitness to practice hearing, care assistant and cook Janet Starr told the panel that Ms Sloan - the retreat's only qualified nurse - spent ages on the computer looking for information on the nuns, some of whom had been teachers at the former school in Llandudno.

"Marie was always on Facebook playing games or contacting ex-pupils of the school and asking them about what the sisters were like when they were teachers," she said.

"Marie found several comments amusing and she would tell other people 'You've got to see what people are saying about the sisters'.

"It was just terrible. She was supposed to be protecting these ladies, but she didn't treat them with any respect at all."

The retreat which was a former boarding school offers residential places for up to 20 nuns.

Mrs Starr, who has worked there for 16 years, said she felt particularly disappointed at how poor things had got given Ms Sloan's appointment was supposed to drive up standards.

She also told the panel the care manager would often say the nurses were "off their heads" and "nuts".

"One of the carers came into work drunk and I had to send her home for everyone's safety," said Mrs Starr.

"I phoned Marie about it but her reply was: 'I can't do anything about it'.

'Holy place'

"Another time I told her about how I had heard a staff member saying she wanted to punch a colleague in the face. She didn't seem to care and said: 'Well, I'd quite like to punch her in the face too'.

"The convent was supposed to be a holy place and serene.

"But it was like Marie forgot where she was and who she was dealing with."

The panel asked whether Mrs Starr had tried to report any concerns before an external audit in 2012, but she said she got the impression her superiors hushed things up because they did not want to cause any trouble.

The NMC also heard evidence from Bridget Kenny, who effectively was Ms Sloan's boss from 2011.

She said: "She was supposed to report to me on a daily basis, but that never materialised. She would always find excuses for not being there and would not accept any criticism."

The hearing was previously told Ms Sloan locked a cleaner in a room with the body of a nun who had just died.

The four-day hearing will continue on Wednesday.

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