A SENIOR government minister has said he is “horrified” a nurse who already had convictions for theft was allowed to work at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, where she stole hundreds of pounds from three elderly patients.
Earlier this month the Worcester News reported 46-year-old Parudavi Maru had been jailed for 12 months after admitting stealing bank cards from three elderly patients at the hospital and using them to withdraw cash.
Although Maru, who was employed by agency NHS Professionals and provided to the hospital as a temporary worker when she carried out the thefts, had previous convictions for theft, these had not been identified in a vetting process.
Following the conviction the son of one of the of the victims wrote to Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt asking for an investigation, and has now received a reply saying the issue had been passed to Under- Secretary of State for Quality, Earl Howe, who was “horrified” by the incident.
The victim's son said he was demanding those responsible for the oversight at both NHS Professionals and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust – which runs the Royal along with Kidderminster Hospital and Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital – lose their jobs.
“I want the people involved to be censured and lose their jobs,” he said. “I don’t just want lessons to be learned from endless inquiries.”
He has asked for a response by Wednesday, September 3 to detail what they intended to do as a result of the conviction.
The court heard Maru, a mother-of-two from Exhall, Coventry, had committed the thefts between August 2013 and March 2014 but was fearful of confessing and of the shame it would bring upon her family.
The trust’s chief executive Penny Venables said the organisation was reviewing its procedures for handling patient property in light of the case.
“We would like to apologise to the patients and their families for all the distress these thefts have caused,” he said.
“We take the safety of patients and their valuables extremely seriously and find it abhorrent than someone should abuse their position of trust within our hospitals.”
She added the trust had spoken to NHS Professionals in an attempt to determine why they were not aware of Maru’s previous convictions.
“Agencies who supply temporary staff to the trust have a contractual obligation to ensure that all relevant employment eligibility checks and references are in place for staff on their books,” she said.
“We were not informed of any previous convictions.
“We have co-operated fully with the police during their investigation.”
Although NHS Professionals issued an apology to affected families following the conclusion of the case, the organisation declined to comment further this week.