A racist nurse who worked for Northamptonshire’s NHS mental health trust later gave a talk on race-hate to 300 staff in her council job, the local authority has admitted.
Susan Horton branded a junior nurse a ‘gorilla’, joked about feeding colleagues bananas and made monkey noises while discussing a black doctor, a Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing heard.
She was sacked along with her colleague Sarah Cullum when their behaviour at St Mary’s Hospital in Kettering, was exposed.
Horton clipped a golliwog doll to her uniform as she made a series of racist remarks about her black colleagues.
But the panel also heard that, after she was fired by the NHS in 2007, Horton was hired by Wellingborough Council.
The council confirmed on Thursday night she was employed by the council firstly as a customer services supervisor and then an antisocial behaviour officer, in which capacity she gave a talk on hate crimes. The hearing was told she also drafted a council race relations policy, which the local authority said was untrue.
Horton managed to get the council jobs because she did not tell managers about her past, the local authority said.
A spokeswoman said: “At the time of Susan Horton’s appointment, the reasons for her dismissal from St Mary’s Hospital were not disclosed to the council.
“When we became aware of the allegations around her previous conduct we began an investigation into the circumstances.
“This exposed inconsistencies in the account of her employment history given to us at the time of her recruitment.
“Susan Horton was suspended while further enquiries were made, but before these could be concluded she resigned her post with the council.
“We have a number of policies that are followed when making an appointment with the council, and these comply with legislation and good practice. “Since Susan Horton’s departure we have made some changes to the way the policies are applied throughout the recruitment process to
ensure this situation does not occur again.”
Cullum was also found guilty after the hearing was told she referred to one ward as the ‘United Nations’ because “they are all black”.
Between then the pair were found guilty of more than 60 charges.
Among the charges was physical abuse of some patients, including a 70-year-old man who was hit and kicked by Horton.
Horton made monkey noises while discussing a black doctor, referred to her as “scary Mary” and said she “shouldn’t be allowed to breed”.
She also joked about “saving the bananas for Mary”.
Both nurses commented that two nurses from Guyana were ‘jabbering away in their gobbledegook’ as they spoke in their native language.
The tribunal panel was told Horton did monkey impressions while discussing a black doctor and said black coleagues “look like apes”.
Giving evidence, Horton had strenuously denied making racist comments and described the golliwog doll she wore as “lovely”. Cullum’s lawyer, Sarah Christie-Brown, said she was “sucked in” by behaviour on the ward which had become a “way of life”.
A spokesman for Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: “This behaviour discredits professional nursing and we know they do not reflect the views of other nurses in the trust.”