Daughter ‘horrified’ at care home’s failings six years after police investigated neglect claims

Edna Sutton, pictured right, before she went into St Michael's Court. Photo: COURTESY OF JENNY COOPE

Edna Sutton, pictured right, before she went into St Michael's Court. Photo: COURTESY OF JENNY COOPER - Credit: Archant

A woman has told of her 'utter dismay' at a Norfolk care home's failure to improve standards, six years after neglect allegations prompted a police probe.

St Michael's Court care home, in Aylsham, was rated inadequate in all areas last week after Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors found residents had been left in 'urine and faeces'.

And ex-NHS complaints officer Jenny Cooper, has told how safety fears saw her remove her elderly mother from the home in 2013 and report her concerns to the police.

Mrs Cooper, who now lives in Scotland, said putting her mother into St Michael's was a 'mistake'.

The 59-year-old submitted a formal complaint to the home's manager, just 12 days after 80-year-old Edna Sutton entered the north Norfolk home on April 1, 2013.

Jenny Cooper, pictured, right, said she is "horrified" improvements haven't been made at the home. P

Jenny Cooper, pictured, right, said she is "horrified" improvements haven't been made at the home. Photo: COURTESY OF JENNY COOPER - Credit: Archant

The CQC inspected the home just three days later - and took enforcement action to tackle failing standards.

The report, published in June 2013, said: 'People were being left in soiled clothing and continence pads for long periods of time.

'A visiting health professional told us they had found one person wearing a continence pad that was soiled with urine and faeces.

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'The person's skin had become burnt from the soiling.'

St Michael's Court in Aylsham. Picture: COLIN FINCH

St Michael's Court in Aylsham. Picture: COLIN FINCH - Credit: Colin Finch

The home was inspected multiple times during 2013 and 2014, but returned to an annual inspection cycle in 2015.

And Mrs Cooper said her reaction to the recent inspection was 'absolute, utter dismay'.

She said: 'I think it's a failing of the CQC. They are responsible for ensuring a level of care.

'I'm just horrified. Given they found such massive failings, you'd expect them to keep a closer eye.'

She copied Mrs Sutton's medical notes, and took them to a strategic review meeting, and said: 'I never let mum go back there.'

A Norfolk Police spokesperson said: 'Police carried out a lengthy investigation in 2013 after receiving allegations of neglect at a care home in the Broadland district and interviewed a number of people as part of this inquiry.

'There was insufficient evidence to consider prosecution and there was no further action.'

Have you had relatives stay at St Michael's Court care home in Aylsham?

Contact reporter Jessica.Frank-Keyes@archant.co.uk

What did the care home company say?

A spokesperson for Runwood Homes said: 'The care and welfare of our residents is of the utmost importance to us.

'The recent CQC inspection has been internally reviewed and immediate action taken.

'An experienced and professional nurse manager with proven expertise has been recruited and will be supported to ensure high standards are maintained.

'It is inappropriate to comment on individual cases, from six years previous.

'It is encouraging that a full, open and transparent multi-agency investigation took place at that time and the outcome fully shared with the relatives in question.'

They added: 'We are very sorry the service has not met the standards we expect across our homes and have taken immediate and robust action to remedy this fully.

'We must exert our professional focus and resource on the continued progress at St Michaels which is most important to us at this time.'

What did the Care Quality Commission say?

A spokesperson for the Care Quality Commission said: 'The CQC is monitoring St Michael's Court closely and working with other partner agencies with regard to it.'

They continued: 'In December 2018, following concerns raised with us regarding the quality of the service, we brought a planned inspection at the home forward.

'Following that inspection the service was rated as inadequate.

'As a result of this inspection we took action to protect the safety and welfare of people using the service and sought assurances from the provider to ensure they had mitigated serious risks.

'We will continue to monitor the service closely and this will include further inspections.'

The CQC, the independent regulator of health and social care in England, monitors and inspects services and publishes its findings.

In the past month, the CQC has rated 88 care homes in England as inadequate.