THERE is a call for Lewisham’s newest Labour councillor to stand down after serious allegations of midwifery misconduct emerged.
Councillor Olufunke Abidoye was elected to represent Deptford’s Evelyn ward last month in spite of having been suspended from her nursing and midwife duties in October last year, News Shopper can reveal.
Her “integrity” and “honesty” are two qualities being investigated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) who deemed she should be suspended for 18 months for public protection.
Yet it was claimed she was still a nurse in the run-up to her by-election victory – which came after Labour’s serial absentee councillor Joseph Folorunso jumped before he was pushed from his post.
Leader of Lewisham Lib Dems Councillor Chris Maines said: “It seems that the suspension is for public protection reasons and you would think the Labour party would have found a candidate that wasn’t in this rather difficult position at the moment.
“I would imagine decisions to suspend a midwife are not taken lightly and 18 months suggests a series of serious issues.
“I wouldn’t want to pre-judge anybody but I think it would be in her personal interest and those of her residents to concentrate on clearing her name and that would mean standing down.”
Mrs Abidoye, who was a midwife at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Trust, has been suspended while various unspecified allegations are looked into - she will either be formally charged or cleared pending the investigation.
The NMC Interim Order Hearing document reads: “The panel was informed that these are serious allegations that if found proved, could bring into question your honesty, integrity and competency.
“The panel considered that these are serious allegations which raise potential concerns about patient safety.
“The panel is of the view that based on the information before it there is a real possibility of repetition for the alleged behaviour and that this could put patients at risk of harm.”
Cllr Maines says the qualities under scrutiny are essential for a councillor and criticised the transparency of the Labour party in not making her position clear.
He said: “You would have thought they [the qualities] were a pre-requisite of the job.
“I think it is essential than anyone that seeks public office is open and transparent about their personal circumstances.
“They [Labour] obviously didn’t tell people that they were voting for someone who has been suspended. They claimed she was a midwife and nurse.”
When News Shopper contacted Mrs Abidoye for a comment on the issue she said, “I am sorry, I am not speaking on the phone,” and hung up.
The mother-of-four claimed more than 50 per cent of the votes in the polls held late last month – gaining 978 votes out of a total 1751.
Her predecessor Joseph Folorunso would have faced dismissal for not showing at council meetings for almost six months had he not stepped down to continue running an orphanage in Togo.
News Shopper previously reported how Mrs Abidoye’s election prompted claims of a Nigerian “ethnic mafia” dominating Evelyn ward from rival party People Before Profit’s campaigner John Hamilton.
A spokesman for Lewisham Labour said: “These allegations are subject to an on-going investigation which we do not seek to prejudice in any way. Our position will not change until the outcome of that investigation is known.”