Family speaks out after council is fined £500,000 over care failures of former Chesterfield midwife

During a 40-year career as a midwife, Audrey Allen dedicated her life to caring for others.

Monday, 9th December 2019, 5:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 11:49 am

But after developing dementia, her family said she was treated abominably at a council-run care home – ultimately leading to her death.

After being admitted as a frail 80-year-old, Miss Allen suffered repeated falls but no risk assessment was carried out to reduce the danger of future incidents, despite it being a legal requirement.

The former director of Midwifery at Chesterfield Royal ‘went downhill’ following the death of her last remaining West Highland Terrier and was moved first to the Stavely Centre and then, after an earlier spell in hospital, to the Grange, in Eckington.

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Terry Allen with other relatives outside Chesterfield Magistrates' Court following the hearing.
Terry Allen with other relatives outside Chesterfield Magistrates' Court following the hearing.

At an earlier inquest, Assistant Coroner Peter Nieto heard carers at The Grange ‘felt that they lacked sufficient training’ and there was also a ‘lack of senior staff’ to supervise care and complete paperwork.

In a narrative verdict, Mr Nieto said that had a fall risk assessment been done, it was ‘likely’ her death would have been avoided.

He said a ‘severe reduction’ of staffing due to a restructure within the council was a contributory factor.

Had ‘preventative measures’ been in place, Miss Allen ‘would not have died when she did,’ he said.

Audrey Allen

Judge Jonathan Taaffe fined Derbyshire County Council - which runs the Grange - £500,000 for failing in its duty of care towards her.

Speaking after the sentencing, Miss Allen’s brother, Terry Allen, said: “The reason that we went with The Grange, because we looked at a lot, was because it was rated ‘good’ and was run by the council. So you’d think it would be good but it proved to be the exact opposite. She was former director of midwifery at Chesterfield Royal. She cared for people all of her working life, and she didn’t get that care back when she needed it, and ultimately, the tax-payer has to foot the bill.”

He added that the £500,000 fine was adequate as a deterrent to ensure other care providers offered a safe and caring service.