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Nurse loses race discrimination claim after displaying “astonishing” incompetence in administering medicine

In the case of Ms HD v LV Care Group Limited a nurse of 17 years’ experience was fired after displaying “astonishing” incompetence in administering medicine to care-home residents, a tribunal has heard.

Ms HD was ultimately dismissed by LV Care Group following an incident when she stood by and watched as an end-of-life patient – who needed medication to relieve her symptoms – was in distress, the Employment Tribunal heard.

“In the simplest of terms, Ms HD did nothing to assist, not even by raising the issue with a colleague,” the tribunal’s deputy chair, Advocate Ian Jones, said in a judgment raising concerns about her continuing to practice.

After being dismissed, Ms HD brought an unsuccessful claim for racial discrimination to the tribunal against her employer and two employees.

The tribunal found that the action was “a clear example of someone seeking to exert pressure on a former employer without real hope or prospect of success”.

Commenting on the reasons for dismissal, Advocate Jones said: “The tribunal has no wish to destroy Ms HD’s confidence but suffice it to say there was overwhelming evidence that she was not competent to administer medication to the residents.

“The tribunal thought that this dynamic alone was astonishing. The claimant had 17 years of experience as a nurse and being able to administer medication competently would seem to be not only a fundamental requirement of the role but also one of the most basic. It was astonishing that this was seemingly beyond [her] and it is of concern to the tribunal that she seemingly continues to work in this field.”

During the course of the racial-discrimination hearing before Advocate Jones – who was sitting with panel members Anne Southern and Michael de la Haye – Ms HD also claimed that the deputy chair was biased and discriminated against her, and she asked him to step down.

Advocate Jones said that the panel’s view was that this was intended to secure an adjournment because the hearing “had not gone particularly well for her”.

Ms HD then engaged in a “silent protest” in response to the refusal of Advocate Jones to step down.

“Needless to say, this did not assist Ms HD’s cause in any way. On the contrary, it reflected very poorly on her and only served to reinforce the case that was being presented against her by the respondents,” Advocate Jones said.

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