Nurse struck off after lack of English put hospital patients at risk

The Italian nurse demonstrated a lack of competence while working at the NNUH, a hearing ruled. Phot

The Italian nurse demonstrated a lack of competence while working at the NNUH, a hearing ruled. Photo: Archant - Credit: Nick Butcher

A nurse has been banned from working in the UK after her lack of English meant she could not treat patients safely.

At a hearing on Friday Valeria Varalli, a nurse from Italy, was accused of 'lack of competence and lack of knowledge of English' while working in Norfolk.

Striking her off, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said: 'There remains an ongoing risk to the public should Miss Varalli return to unrestricted practice.'

She was employed as a Band 5 nurse from September 2014 to February 2015 at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).

Miss Varalli, who has since returned to Italy, was accused of a litany of errors while working there including:

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•Delaying giving a patient a feeding tube for eight hours

•Not administering a patient's insulin

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•Writing down the incorrect dose of medicine

•Not checking and signing patients' records

The hearing alleged she did not have the 'necessary knowledge of English to practise safely' and had not made attempts to improve her English.

The NMC panel was also told there were a large number of charges already proven against regarding her 'lack of competence in fundamental and basic nursing skills'.

She did not attend the hearing in London but no longer wants to return to nursing in the UK and asked the panel to delete her registration.

She had previously been suspended in 2016 but was not struck off meaning she could have returned to nursing in the UK.

After being suspended in 2016 she was asked to improve her English but the panel decided that had not happened with her only attending 50pc of English classes which the NNUH had provided for her.

They said Miss Varalli had demonstrated a 'persistent lack of insight into her failings'. and further suspension would not be suitable.

Hospitals across the country have recruited extensively from abroad to make up for staff shortages in the NHS.

The NMC said foreign nurses needed to complete English language tests or have a nursing qualification which was taught in English.

A spokesman for the NNUH said: 'Patient safety is our top priority and we offer support to all staff who may need extra help in their role.

'This former member of staff worked for the Trust for six months, but failed to demonstrate during her probationary supernumerary period the standards of knowledge, skill and judgement required to practise without supervision as a staff nurse and was referred to the NMC in a timely manner.'

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