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Barkingside healthcare assistant jailed for five months for neglecting elderly patients

PUBLISHED: 14:22 23 August 2013 | UPDATED: 14:23 23 August 2013

Shamilla Gunda

Shamilla Gunda

Archant

A healthcare assistant from Barkingside has been jailed alongside a colleague for their ill-treatment and neglect of elderly patients in their care at Whipps Cross Hospital.

Sharmilla Gunda, 36, of Horns Road, was sentenced to five months in prison for one count of neglect of a person without capacity and one count of common assault, at Snaresbrook Crown Court today.

The allegations first emerged in April last year when student nurses placed on Beech Ward reported inappropriate care to the senior staff on the ward at the hospital in Leytonstone.

Akousa Sakyiwaa, 37, of Orange Grove, Leytonstone, was also sentenced to 12 months in prison for four counts of ill treatment or neglect.

While Annette Jackson, 33, of Simpson Road, Hounslow, was sentenced to two months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and 100 hours unpaid work.

The women would physically and verbally abuse patients, often telling them to shut up, as well as handling them in a rough and aggressive manner, police said.

All three were found guilty at an earlier hearing on June 21.

Delivering his sentence, Judge Timothy Lamb QC, said the women’s actions had “damaged patient trust” in the NHS.

“An entitlement to proper care should not be a matter of chance or be given at the whim of the carer. The conduct complained of simply had no place on any ward,” he told the jury.

Addressing the defendants, Mr Lamb added: “In short, by your offending you have let down your colleagues, you have damaged patient trust and you have undermined the quality of care for the elderly and vulnerable at Whipps Cross.”

Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, has apologised to patients and stressed it has a “zero tolerance approach” to any form of neglect or ill-treatment.

In a statement issued following the verdicts, the trust said: “We apologise unreservedly to the patients of Beech Ward and their families for the indefensible failings in their treatment during their time in our care.

“There can be no place under any circumstances for such behaviour in our trust or in the wider NHS.”


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