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Hearing Begins Into Elder Abuse At West Yorks Nursing Home

Inadequate care at nursing home


The professional body which looks after the conduct of nurses and midwives have begun their hearing into the matron and deputy matron of a nursing home in West Yorkshire following allegations of inadequate care and elder abuse including malnourishment and assault.

Witnesses have given evidence that elderly women were left with undressed sores and sitting in urine at the nursing home.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing is hearing from professionals and family members to consider whether Registered nurses Patricia Linda Parker and Elisabeth Uttley, the matron and deputy matron of Laurel Bank nursing home respectively, should be removed from the nursing register.

Patricia Parker, 59, has admitted a series of failings dating from when she was the matron and manager of the home. Her deputy at the home, 62-year-old Elisabeth Uttley, from Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire has chosen not to attend the hearing.

Laurel Bank nursing home in Halifax is a residential nursing home for 37 residents. It has been the focus of several investigations from the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), formerly the National Care Standards Commission (NCSC), as well as featuring in an undercover investigation by the BBC programme Panorama in an episode entitled Please Look after Mum broadcast in February 2007.

Allegations against Both Ms Parker and Ms Uttley involve failure to provide adequate care towards three residents Agnes Moore (68), Lily Leatham (83) and Ivy McGuire who died aged 78 in June 2004. All were residents at the home between 2002 and 2004 when the alleged abuse took place.

Agnes Moore is a chronic diabetic and had lost a leg to the disease in 2003; she subsequently underwent an amputation of her remaining leg during the following year. On re-entering the home after the amputation Ms Moore developed septicaemia due to nursing failures within the home and became critically ill.

She survived but alleges that not only did she receive inadequate care, but also that she was struck whilst in the home by one of the carers.

In November 2005 the nursing home agreed to pay an undisclosed figure to Mrs Lily Leatham in an out-of-court settlement after she was left with pressure sores so acute that her hip bone could be clearly seen. Mrs Leatham's case led to an in-depth investigation into all of Calderdale's nursing homes for the elderly.

The case of Ivy McGuire was investigated by the NCSC after complaints from her daughter Ruth Binns. Allegations that staff had no practical training, that there was inadequate staff resources and that Mrs McGuire had been left in a bed, covered in her own urine and faeces, were all upheld by the report. They also heard allegations of abuse including claims that residents were struck by staff so hard that they were left with finger shaped bruising.

After complaining about the manner of the care towards her Mother, Ms Binns received a letter in August 2003 from the nursing homes owner Christopher Bolland demanding her mother be moved to another nursing home within a month.

Rachelle Mahapatra, from law firm Irwin Mitchell, who represented all three residents in claims against the home said The families feel that the power of the official regulator, the Commission for Social Care Inspection, has failed them and their mothers.

They hope that through this hearing the individuals involved can be identified and dealt with accordingly. They also hope that calls to prevent anything like this happening again will become deafening once the inadequacies of the present system of inspection and regulation of residential care homes is exposed.

In these three cases the women had loving supportive daughters who attended their mothers regularly, but many of the residents at the home do not have relatives who can provide this extra tier of protection. For their sakes, we need definitive action towards how we improve the treatment of the elderly in this country.

If you or a loved one has been abused or neglected whilst in a care, our care & nursing home abuse claims team could help you to secure compensation. See ourElder Abuse Compensation Claims page for more information.