Two Nurses Found Guilty of Abuse Charges by Nursing and Midwifery Council

Inadequate care in nursing home


The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has found the Matron and Deputy Matron of a residential care home in Halifax West Yorkshire guilty of a series of charges brought against them by families of elderly residents of the home in which both worked.

The NMC hearing, which started on Monday 17 September, found that Patricia Linda Parker, the matron of Laurel Bank nursing home in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and Deputy Matron Elisabeth Uttley who has since retired, should be removed from the nursing register.

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 were 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:

"We are happy with the decision of the council to find Uttley guilty and that parker has admitted guilt and misconduct; we await a decision by the NMC as to whether they will strike them off the nursing register."

"However this was not a failure of two people, we believe it goes much deeper than that and would call for a complete review of the regulations and monitoring of private and public care homes."

"These homes, which make profits for their owners, play host to some of the most vulnerable people in society. The most stringent regulations must be in place for anyone operating and working within residential care."