‘Sub-standard’ health worker struck off as a danger to the public

26 Mar 2019 / courts Print

Mr Justice Kelly urges update in ‘cumbersome’ law

Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday described the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 as “entirely cumbersome".

“It is legislation that badly needs to be revisited and streamlined," he said in the High Court, about the law which deals with misconduct and poor professional performance allegations.

The procedures require three costly hearings before three different bodies, before any application to the High Court for strike-off.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly also described an alleged radiographer, employed at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) on a six-month contract, as “simply a danger to the public” because of her “substandard” knowledge.

Lacking

He repeated his concerns about how health workers are recruited despite being “so lacking in basic skills”, after striking off Kashimbo Musonda, who worked at the Waterford hospital for two weeks in 2017 before being let go.

Mr Justice Kelly previously stated his concerns about some junior hospital doctors who didn’t know basic anatomy or procedures.

The court was told that Musonda was registered to practice in this country on the basis of a 2006 letter from the Department of Health recognising her 2005 Zambian diploma in diagnostic radiography.

Mr Justice Kelly was granting an application by JP McDowell, the solicitor acting for the Health and Social Professionals Council (HSPC) for orders confirming the council’s direction that Musonda be struck off the radiographers’ register.

He gave an additional direction preventing Musonda from re-registering for 18 months.

The court’s order is also to be shared with authorities in Zambia and Botswana.

Musonda worked here for a private concern, Affidea Diagnostics Ireland, before being taken on as a basic grade radiographer at UHW in February 2017.

Concerns

Within days, concerns were raised about her competence before she was let go after a fortnight.

The HSPC Professional Conduct Committee then began a probe in September and November 2018 and found poor professional performance and professional misconduct.

These included poor understanding of radiation protection practice and a lack of competence in radiographic positioning, projection and imaging.

Harm

It also found she had placed the health and safety of the mother of a child patient at risk by exposing the mother to unnecessary radiation while taking images of the child and had failed to show adequate understanding of the potential harm to the mother from such exposure.

Musonda said the allegations were fabricated in “a conspiracy motivated by racism”. The committee found no evidence of conspiracy.

The findings were not appealed and the HSPC sought to confirm the strike-off in the High Court.