Hillcroft Care Home Slammed Over Patient Care

Care Home Investigation Finds Not Enough Done To Prevent Abuse


A report into the Hillcroft Care Home scandal has found management failed to take sufficient action to protect residents from abuse.

The review of practices at the site, at Slyne-with-Hest near Lancaster, followed the court case in which four former members of staff were convicted of abusing residents, with three of them being jailed in January this year.

According to the investigation by the Lancashire Safeguarding Adults Board, there was no evidence that the abuse had been going on for a long time. Nonetheless, it noted, management had fallen short of their responsibilities by failing to treat it as criminal behaviour.

Among the acts committed by the four staff were a case of one person being slapped, another being tipped out of their chair, one having their foot stamped on, while the victims were subjected to having items thrown at them and verbal taunts. The eight residents on the receiving end of the abuse were all suffering from dementia.

The report noted that one of the convicted staff had been a bully and it was suggested their influence might have prompted others to carry out abuse. Head of the review panel Shirley Williams noted that "this is not unusual in groups", but added that "an environment with positive staff engagement will usually flush such people out fairly quickly".

It was acknowledged that managers were not complicit in the abuse, as they did take disciplinary action when incidents came to light. However, the report was not satisfied that this was an adequate response.

Ms Williams stated: "The main failing of the Hillcroft Slyne managers was to leave residents at risk of abuse from the original perpetrators, but also their lack of proportionate and required action as a registered provider of care reinforced a culture of low expectations of staff behaviour that would have consequences for the future care of residents," the report stated.

The report noted that Hillcroft had enjoyed a good reputation prior to the incidents of bullying, which the police and Lancashire County Council were made aware of in late 2011 and 2012.  Once the issues were detected, the improvements in patient safeguarding were swiftly implemented by the home.

Expert Opinion
The abuse detailed in this report is shocking and simply unacceptable.

“These were vulnerable residents who deserved to be treated safely with dignity, but the staff at Hillcroft abused this vulnerability in the worst possible way.

“Sadly, this is not a standalone case with reports of care home abuse or neglect often coming to light. More work must be done by the authorities and Care Quality Commission (CQC) to ensure such a rotten culture cannot be allowed to develop within care homes.

“Earlier this week, a Serious Case Review (SCR) into failings at a Sussex care home called Orchid View identified over 30 recommendations to prevent a repeat scandal of neglect. Irwin Mitchell represents seven family members who lost loved ones at Orchid View and has called for a Public Inquiry into the care industry to bring about widespread reform.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner