Care in the UK makes progress

Last week saw the final stage of the hearings, at one of numerous NMC locations that have hosted the fitness-to-practise procedures, into the lack of nursing care provided to you during the time you were in Lennox House care home, Holloway/Islington, in 2007, and just before your death.  Appropriately enough, we were directly opposite the Old Bailey for the finale.

Over the main entrance to the Old Bailey, which opened in 1907, figures were placed representing fortitude, the recording angel, and truth, along with the inscription

“DEFEND THE CHILDREN OF THE POOR & PUNISH THE WRONGDOER”

As I sat in the hearing room on the 5th floor of the building,  those words were directly in front of my eyes all week.

On 17th April 2013, Sheila Ali the former care home manager / nurse  was struck off; her name is removed from the register of nurses allowed to provide nursing care to people.   She wasn’t present to hear the decision because, overnight, she decided suddenly to withdraw from the proceedings, and to remove her instructions from the barrister who had represented her.  When he announced this to the hearing, he was invited to leave.  He left.  So neither of them was present to hear the decision.

On 19th April 2013, Dahlia Dela Cerna/Enriquez wept as she received a 2-year caution order, having been found guilty of misconduct and with current impairment.  That’s the first time she’s shown anything that resembled human emotion.  They have all shown callous disregard for you – and for me.

On 21st December 2012, Catherine Igbokwe was struck off,  having been found guilty of misconduct and with current impairment, so her name was removed from the register.

On 21st December 2012, Maria Rholyn Secuya/Baquerfo received a 3-year caution order, having been found guilty of misconduct and with current impairment.

The documents in the above links are very long but very detailed.  Words I’ve heard used to describe the hearings include ‘complex’, ‘extremely involved’, ‘complicated’ and ‘very difficult’.  The decision documents are just that too.  Presumably to deter people from reading them in full, and in detail.

After you died, over 5 years ago in December 2007, there were lots of investigations and reports written, some of which I have never been allowed to see.   No matter how hard I’ve tried, the words written have all been kept behind closed doors, far away from the eyes of those who cared about you.  We, your family, have never been granted access to the full reports of the investigations by Islington local authority.

It was on 1st October 2008 that I first referred these nurses to the NMC.  The hearings at the NMC began on 6th February 2012 and concluded almost 15 months later  on 19th April 2013.  Once I had been called as a witness and had given my evidence, I attended every single day as an Observer.  So I observed and heard every single word spoken in public.

Needless to say, I’ve heard things said that I have never known about.  I never knew before now, for example, that the care home manager Sheila Ali had been in Lennox House all day on 7 December 2007 without bothering to come to see you or to dial 999, even though she had apparently been alerted to the fact that you were in spasm for long periods, unable to speak, unable to swallow, unable to move.   She didn’t care.

She didn’t care much for those residents mentioned in this article in the Daily Mail in August 2008, bearing the gruesome title ‘Care home boss suspended after dead bodies of two pensioners ‘are left for days’.  That was 8 months after you’d died.

It goes without saying that there were many other revelations at the hearings too.  No wonder we have never been allowed the full knowledge of your last days.

It’s been extremely difficult for me to sit through those sessions, but I owed that to you and I had to represent you.  It was the only thing I could do on your behalf and in in your absence.  Your voice was taken from you by  Care UK and its so-called care home, Lennox House.

I’ve found it hard to be told, by the legal representatives of the nurses involved, “You have no need to be here” – “These proceedings are nothing to do with you” – “You are not involved in these proceedings”, and so on.  I had every need to be there; the proceedings had much to do with me and with you; I will always remain involved.  There’s more I have to tell, and tell it I will.  Honestly, openly and transparently.

They took away your voice.  Nobody took away my presence.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Care in the UK makes progress

  1. Brendan

    A disturbing story you tell and that it has taken so long for these people to be brought to book is astonishing. Even more so since they were all employed by Care UK that is set to take over so many care services provided by the N.H.S.Thank you for persevering and keep telling the story that you’ve still got to tell.

  2. Edna

    How many others have similar stories but whose voices have been ‘muffled’, or who lack your determination and tenacity?

    Somehow only when someone dies from neglect / abuse which can be proven conclusively do things happen. But much neglect abuse is more subtle and pervasive and even condoned by authorities who choose the care providers without consideration of history / form with same management. How many people with dementia will have progressed rapidly in their illness or died, (e.g. from an acute stroke, because they are already susceptible), from the trauma and distress of multiple care workers ‘mis-handlng’ them during care work?

    What concerns me is how much is actually condoned by the state apparatchik – social services directors / managers- in the name of providing care. Often safeguarding alerts by families are ignored when they raise issue about standards of care work or abuses.

    Who cares? Not many of those who have paid jobs. Yet family carers are treated as criminals for the stresses of 24/7 care when they very rarely snap. None of the paid workers has this level of stress yet the state apparatchik seem to keep their care home / care agency managers in jobs they are unfit to perform. The CQC does not do a thorough job of investigating because being too critical means care businesses would close and put strain on an already problematic system (I was told this by an inspector).

    It is a mess because it is in the hands of vested interests and disinterested politicians who keep each other in jobs.

  3. Liz

    Solidarity from us in Derbyshire to you. Even more solidarity after seeing another BBC Panorama programme last night on failures in care homes (June 17th 2013).

    • careintheuk

      Many thanks, Liz. Your support is much appreciated. I’m convinced that the only way we will ever improve standards of care in the UK is by never walking on the other side of the street. “They”, the care providers, haven’t yet realised that “we”, the relatives, will no longer be fobbed off by the meaningless words spoken by them whenever we ask questions.

      It’s taken me far too long to understand the whole rotten system in place. They all hoped that I would walk away, worn down by their mighty arrows. I’ve never heard so many lies told in my whole life. Shocked me to see the muddy depths they were all willing to sink to, purely in the very best interest of their self-preservation. With absolutely callous disregard for the vulnerable person they’d neglected.

  4. Pingback: Care UK regrets they weren’t able to care for you, madam | Care in the UK

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