Matron Not Struck Off Register Despite Misconduct

Care Home Abuse



Despite the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) finding the Matron of a residential care home in Halifax, West Yorkshire guilty of misconduct on a series of charges brought against herby families of elderly residents of the home in which she worked she has not been removed from the nursing register.

The NMC hearing, which started on Monday 17 September, has allowed Patricia Linda Parker, the Matron of Laurel Bank nursing home to continue working as a nurse but Deputy Matron Elisabeth Uttley who has since retired was removed.

Ms Parker, who pleaded guilty to the charges, and Ms Uttley, who has repeatedly denied any guilt, were both accused of failing to provide adequate care towards three residents Agnes Moore (68), Lily Leatham (83) and Ivy McGuire who died aged 78 in June 2004. All three women were residents at the home between 2002 and 2004 when the abuse took place.

The hearing heard from professionals and relatives of all three women including Mrs Leatham's daughters Marilyn Hartley and Dianne Newman who described how their mother walked with assistance into the home, but thereafter was never seen walking again.

Ms Newman told the hearing that on arriving one day at the home after 2pm, she was told by her mother that she was hungry. When she asked Elisabeth Uttley if her mother had been given her lunch she replied she had forgotten, and Lily was then given just two scoops of chocolate ice cream.

The hearing was told that Mrs Leatham's condition deteriorated so badly that she had to be admitted to hospital. It was only at this point that her family was told that she was undernourished and that she had extensive pressure sores so serious her hip bone was visible through one of them.

Ruth Binns, the daughter of Ivy McQuire gave evidence that. On one occasion Mrs McGuire was hit on the head by a piece of equipment from the hoist used to assist in moving her.

Ms Binns recalled finding bruises on her mother's arm, despite her mother complaining of pain no explanation was ever given by the care home.

Mandy Hirst the daughter of Agnes Moore, and who is a manual handling assessor, told the hearing yesterday that she observed a nurse drag lift her mother.

Ms Hirst also found her Mrs Moore in bed with a rolled up towel between her legs as the home had run out of incontinence pads, and her wheelchair and buzzer were too far from her bed to reach. She then made a decision to move her mother to another home.

Paula McCloy from the commission social care inspection gave evidence that the home had failed to complete and update care plans. She was concerned that weight was not monitored and the home did not have an appropriate hoist to assist in the movement of Ivy McGuire.

Ms McCloy told the hearing that she was also concerned about Mrs Leatham's weight loss, Mrs McGuire's bruises caused by inappropriate handling and the failure to involve multi-disciplinary services when needed such as the local tissue viability nurses
Rachelle Mahapatra from Leeds based law firm Irwin Mitchell, and who is representing the families of all three women said:

"This is the end of a four year battle by the families to bring to the attention of the Regulatory Authority, Social Services and the Nurses Professional Body the failure of this residential home that was meant to care for their elderly residents.

"These failings were serious, systematic and sustained resulting in so much pain for these frail defenceless women, and their families.

"The families are obviously disappointed that the Nursing Midwifery Council did not decide to strike Linda Parker off the register following a finding off misconduct in respect of charges which involved physical harm and loss of dignity to their mothers.

"The panels acknowledged the evidence of CSCI inspector who had found that the home was now meeting standards.

"The families concern was the seriousness of what had happened in the past, Linda Parker's lack of retraining may put other residents at risk in the future.

"We hope that lessons have and will continue to be learnt for the future to ensure a tragedy of this kind cannot ever happen again."