Three carers sacked after tragedy

Three care workers on duty the night an elderly woman went unchecked and died at a Sheffield old folks' home have been dismissed from their positions for gross misconduct.

The trio of former employees of Norwood Grange care home in Longley Lane have also had their cases referred to the Independent Safeguarding Authority after a Sheffield inquest ruled false entries had been made on Iris Whomersley's records, stating she had been checked.

But the poorly 83-year-old was not looked in on for four-and-a-half hours on the night she died - and was spotted on the floor next to her bed only when care worker Kelly Teasdale went out for a cigarette just before 3am on November 2 last year.

Ms Teasdale, colleague Lee Drinkwater, and a third, unnamed, night shift worker who has since moved abroad, had all been instructed at handover the previous evening that Mrs Whomersley be checked every half hour because she was suffering a temperature, bad chest and sore mouth.

She had also been failing to take in food and liquids, and charts had been drawn up to monitor her progress.

The cause of death was a chest infection contributed to by cerebral vascular disease.

The Sheffield inquest heard Mr Drinkwater had lied on Mrs Whomersley's care plan, claiming she was "asleep when checked" and her "incontinent needs were met".

Drinkwater agreed when Sheffield coroner Chris Dorries asked him if falsifying residents' records during the night shift was a "widespread system" at Norwood Grange, whether the old people had been checked or not.

Today a spokesman for the home, run by Red Rose Care, said: "We would like to convey our deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to the family of Iris Whomersley.

"A prompt and full internal investigation was launched immediately after her death and the three carers involved were immediately put on suspension.

"They have since been dismissed for gross misconduct and have since been referred to ISA."

He added the home had co-operated fully with the Sheffield inquest, which returned a narrative verdict expressing concern about a record keeping system that had "no merit in it whatsoever".

Mr Dorries said: "I am utterly clear there was a gross failure to provide Mrs Whomersley, a dependent person, with basic care at a time when her condition was known to require it."

But the home spokesman said changes had been implemented to ensure such events would not happen again.

He said: "We are not complacent and are committed to putting the safety and wellbeing of the people we support at the forefront of everything we do.

"That is why we have strengthened our existing procedures - including insisting all night time work is signed off by two members of staff."


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