NURSING BOARD DISCIPLINARY CASE

Nightingale Nursing Home director fails to stop probe

Her application for judicial review is dismissed; she has to pay costs

NIGHTINGALE Nursing Home's nursing director Tan Choo Waoh on Wednesday lost her bid to stop a Singapore Nursing Board disciplinary case against her.

Madam Tan, 65, had applied for a High Court judicial review of the probe, alleging the board was biased as it had pre-judged her case.

But the board successfully countered her claims in a day- long, closed-door hearing before Justice Quentin Loh, who dismissed the case and ordered Madam Tan to pay costs.

Nightingale Home hit the headlines in 2011 after a man secretly filmed his 77-year-old mother being slapped and thrown onto a bed at the home.

The home was fined $15,000 for failing to ensure that its care met approved standards.

In a separate case last September, Madam Tan was fined $12,000 for allowing contract staff to work overtime and failing to pay overtime rates.

The board convened a complaints committee to investigate her. But days before the hearing could take place, Madam Tan received a document titled "The (Board's) Submissions On Sentencing".

It alleged that she had failed to treat her staff fairly and had taken advantage of them.

The document also claimed that Madam Tan's conduct had repercussions for the nursing profession and that she should be censured and suspended for two months.

Drew & Napier lawyer Jaikanth Shankar, who was acting for Madam Tan, argued that the whole point of the board's document was to inform the committee she was guilty and deserved to be punished.

But at a committee hearing in April, the board made it clear that it was merely prosecuting the case and had not reached the stage where it had to deliberate on the committee's findings.

Rajah & Tann lawyer Rebecca Chew acted for the board on Wednesday. Justice Loh is expected to issue the written grounds for his decision in due course.

vijayan@sph.com.sg