Cambridgeshire

Addenbrooke's nurse 'could not speak any English'

Addenbrooke's Hospital Image copyright PA
Image caption Staff at Addenbrooke's Hospital realised Lidiya Tsekova could not speak English when she turned up for her first day

A Bulgarian woman who was hired to work in a hospital despite not understanding any English has been suspended from practising as a nurse.

Lidiya Tsekova secured work at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge after an "unknown person" did a phone interview in her place.

She had already been rejected for a job over concerns about her English after a previous face-to-face interview.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) decided she was not fit to practise.

The council's conduct and competence committee heard Ms Tsekova was told in February 2014 that her English skills were not good enough for her to work at Addenbrooke's.

She had come to the interview with a friend, who had done most of the talking, with Ms Tsekova only answering "yes" or "no".

When she failed to get the job, she was told to reapply when her English had improved.

But when she later applied for another position on the dialysis ward, someone else who was fluent in English did the phone interview. Ms Tsekova was given the job as staff believed it was her on the phone.

It was only when she turned up for an induction and for her first day at work that staff realised she could not speak English.

Miming actions

On her first day, a senior clinical nurse had to mime actions to Ms Tsekova about taking off her apron and gloves as she did not understand the spoken instructions.

Concerns were reported to HR, and Ms Tsekova later refused to do a language assessment when asked to do so by the NMC.

She was dismissed for gross misconduct.

The committee found Ms Tsekova did not have the necessary knowledge of the English language to practise safely.

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