Sheffield care home to close after assault claims

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ELDERLY residents are being forced to find new accommodation because their nursing home is to close - after allegations of assaults by staff.

NHS and council bosses have pulled funding from Lime Trees residential home on Devon Road, off Barnsley Road, Fir Vale, and the owners have now decided to permanently close the centre.

Up to 60 residents are now being shifted to other care homes.

Lime Trees has been under intense scrutiny over patient safety after allegations were made against members of staff.

Police have investigated three employees at the 60-bed care home, which specialises in care for elderly people, including patients with dementia.

Staff member Carol Grant, aged 50, appeared at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged with two counts of assault by beating.

Grant, of Calder Way, Firth Park, is accused of attacking two different women between January 23 and March 1. Her case was adjourned until September.

Police took no actions against two other staff members.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission also raised concerns in their May report, saying there were not enough arrangements to protect patients against ‘risks of abuse’ - although in July they said improvements had been made.

Owners Leyton Healthcare brought in a new management team ‘to improve standards’ earlier this year but health and council bosses remained concerned, and have now suspended their contracts with the home ‘with a view to terminating them’.

Leyton Healthcare said the ‘difficult decision’ to close the home had been made after meetings with the council and NHS made it clear their position was ‘untenable’.

The company must give four weeks’ notice of any closure, but said: “We anticipate that most, if not all of the residents, will be moved before then.”

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WHAT THE COUNCIL AND NHS SAID:

A joint statement released by Coun Mary Lea, the council’s cabinet member for health, and Kevin Clifford, lead nurse at NHS Sheffield, said: “We can confirm we have suspended our contracts with Leyton Healthcare with a view to terminating them, and have worked with the police as part of their investigation.

“The council and the NHS are taking all the necessary steps to make sure the residents are appropriately cared for and that new residential homes are found for all concerned as soon as possible.

“We are unable to go into any further detail given the investigations, but the interests of those residents using the home is of the utmost importance.”

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WHAT THE CARE HOME OWNERS SAID:

A Leyton Healthcare spokeswoman said: “We are disappointed and saddened to have to close Lime Trees.

“Under the previous management, a number of care standards had fallen below acceptable levels, but as soon as this came to our attention we acted promptly and comprehensively to address them.

“With a highly experienced new home manager in place we have been making real progress, so it is doubly disappointing the city council and NHS Sheffield have chosen to withdraw their support now, leaving the home in an untenable position.”

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WHAT POLICE SAID:

“South Yorkshire Police was made aware in March of allegations against three staff members at Lime Trees care home in Sheffield.

“Officers investigated these allegations and a 50-year-old woman was reported on summons to appear at court for two alleged assaults.

“No further action was taken against the other two staff members.

“The two assaults are alleged to have taken place between January and March 2012.”