Health visitor struck off register for ignoring warnings of child abuse

A health visitor who ignored warnings that
children were at risk of abuse has been struck off the nursing
register for professional misconduct.

Veronica Egenamba, 57, was found guilty by the
UKCC, the nurses regulatory body, of two charges of misconduct
after failing to maintain patient records and not co-operating with
other professionals. An internal investigation revealed that 102
vulnerable clients had not been referred to the correct

But the nurse’s conduct committee hearing was
told City and Hackney Community Services NHS Trust failed to spot
the backlog of work at Egenamba’s office for four years. Child
protection adviser Julie Barker had noted Egenamba’s incompetence
in December 1998 during a training session.

“She said she had no child protection concerns
on any families in her caseload, which surprised me. She was
working with an extremely vulnerable client group and had 300
families,” said Barker. “She thought refugee families were always
loving to their children and therefore there would be no families
with child protection concerns. She also said that she would not
raise any concerns about a child that may be at risk of harm
because it took two years to build a relationship of trust with the

No action was taken until a fellow health
visitor became concerned after receiving five requests for a file
that could not be located. Egenamba denied she had the records, but
they were found along with two envelopes containing child
protection issues.

Her room was littered with records on desks,
window sills and in boxes on the floor. Many of the records were
more than 18 months old.

“The thing that most concerned me was that
child protection matters had not been acted on or sent to the
appropriate agencies,” Egenamba’s line manager Gloria Thomas told
the hearing. “I spoke to Mrs Egenamba and she told me she had to do
all the work herself and found it difficult to keep up.”

Egenamba did not attend the hearing but had
previously told a disciplinary hearing that she had no help and
nobody else could understand her work.

She was sacked from her post after a
disciplinary hearing in October 1999.

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