South East Wales

Children were left at 'risk' of neglect, hearing told

Fairwater Health Centre Image copyright Google

Children were left at risk of harm after a health visitor failed to identify signs of potential neglect, a hearing was told.

Lysanda Wajsowicz faces nine allegations relating to her time working from the Fairwater Health Centre, Cardiff, between 2009 and 2012.

In one case, parents were later arrested on suspicion of neglect.

Ms Wajsowicz, who retired in 2012, was not present at the Cardiff Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing on Monday.

Opening the fitness to practice hearing, Claire Parry for the NMC said concerns were first raised in October 2011, when two children aged under 10 visited GP Sara Wilson with cases of scabies.

But Ms Parry said Ms Wajsowicz failed to make contact with the family after this and in January 2012, both parents were arrested on suspicion of neglect because of the living conditions. She said the father was subsequently also arrested on suspicion of abusing another child.

An investigation by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board found Ms Wajsowicz had been involved with the family for more than two years. She had noted on one visit in 2009, "flooding in the kitchen, the house littered with rubbish and dirt and grease in the kitchen".

The family had also been subject to a number of public protection referrals, with a history of marital stress, domestic violence, post natal depression and low income.

"The registrant should have taken appropriate steps to make sure the children were safe and their needs were being met," Ms Parry said.

'Significant risk'

Other allegations include a delay in providing a care plan which put a child at significant risk of harm before they moved into a refuge with their mother.

She is accused of offering no supportive contact to a woman whose ex-partner was subject to a restraining order or a couple who were planning to separate because of "financial constraints".

Allegations also include failing to send patient notes to a new practice, failing to discuss with a mother the risks of domestic abuse to a child and failing to carry out follow-up visits.

Ms Wajsowicz was "a very experienced health visitor" according to Ms Parry. She offered reasons such as being on annual leave, having a student health visitor with her or being too busy, the hearing was told.

Ms Wajsowicz had been part of a team of three which regularly dealt with safeguarding issues. But Ms Parry said one member raised concerns about staffing levels and left her role.

The hearing is expected to continue until Thursday.