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Hospital workers jailed for cruelty
Two healthcare assistants who abused elderly female patients on the geriatric ward of an under-fire hospital have been jailed.
Akousa Sakyiwaa, 38, was convicted of four counts of ill-treatment and neglect of patients on Beech Ward at Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone, east London, between February and April last year.
Sharmila Gunda, 36, was found guilty of one count of neglect and one count of assault by beating an elderly patient in her care following a trial in June.
Sakyiwaa, of Leytonstone, was jailed for 12 months and Gunda, of Ilford, given a five-month prison sentence at London's Snaresbrook Crown Court.
Fellow healthcare assistant Annette Jackson, 33, of Hounslow, west London, was given a two-month suspended sentence and ordered to complete 100 hours unpaid work after being convicted of one count of ill-treatment or neglect.
The three women were charged following a Metropolitan Police inquiry into the hospital after a student nurse acted as a whistleblower.
Judge Timothy Lamb QC said the women's actions had "damaged patient trust" in the NHS.
Addressing the defendants, Mr Lamb said: "In short, by your offending you have let down your colleagues, you have damaged patient trust and you have undermined the quality of care for the elderly and vulnerable at Whipps Cross."
Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, has apologised to patients and stressed it has a "zero tolerance approach" to any form of neglect or ill-treatment.
In a statement issued following the verdicts, the trust said: "We apologise unreservedly to the patients of Beech Ward and their families for the indefensible failings in their treatment during their time in our care. There can be no place under any circumstances for such behaviour in our trust or in the wider NHS."