Rapist sacked from nursing home

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The Independent Online
A nursing home has sacked a convicted rapist - whose regulatory body allowed him to resume his nursing career last month - after he failed formally to disclose his convictions.

Sussex Health Care, which runs the 68-bed Forest Lodge nursing home in Uckfield, East Sussex, said its experience meant it would now back the introduction of formal registration for care workers or the formal disclosure of criminal records "at the earliest opportunity". The move is being demanded by social services directors who say a General Social Services Council is needed, similar to nurses' and doctors' disciplinary and registration bodies.

Yuen How Choy, 50, has been working as a bank care assistant - a non- nursing post - at Forest Lodge for the past five months. Last month he was restored to the nursing register by the United Kingdom Central Council on Nursing which had struck him off after a 1984 conviction for rape. Mr Choy was also convicted in 1972 of drugging a patient to obtain sex.

Sussex Health Care originally stood by Mr Choy, providing a reference at the UKCC hearing and saying he had carried out his work "with care and professionalism". According to the council, it said it would employ him as a nurse.

Yesterday, however, the company said Mr Choy had made no mention of his past convictions when applying to work at Forest Lodge last September, despite a legal requirement to do so. It had learnt only on Saturday from East Sussex Health Authority of "additional information surrounding Mr Choy's previous convictions". The company added: "In the light of what is now known to us, Mr Choy will no longer be called upon to work in any capacity."

The authority, which registers and inspects Forest Lodge, said it first learnt that Mr Choy was working in another home in its area as a care assistant last autumn. It contacted the home and he left shortly afterwards.

When it saw his name on the staff list at Forest Lodge, it advised the home "to consider seriously the wisdom" of employing Mr Choy. However, he stayed on at Forest Lodge.

Yesterday, the company said its homes carried out extensive screening procedures, but police checks of criminal records were not available.

After its experience, "it is our intention to require prospective employees to themselves obtain a police record before employment". Alternatively, all carers should be registered "as a prerequisite to seeking employment," the company said, adding "we will be supporting these ideas for implementation across the industry at the earliest opportunity."