Inquiry launched after three deaths at Bradford care home

A Bradford care home for people with learning disabilities is being investigated over what a senior councillor has described as three “unexpected” deaths.

The matter came to light as Bradford Council discussed its partnership arrangements with Bradford District Care Trust, which manages learning disability services.

Councillor Jeanette Sunderland was so concerned about the situation at Weaver Court, Idle, that she has called in the executive’s decision over the trust partnership.

Weaver Court is run by the care trust. Its residents have been referred to the Adult Safeguarding Board, which acts as a safety net for vulnerable adults in the district.

Coun Sunderland, leader of the Liberal Democrat group as well as Idle and Thackley ward councillor, said: “I have a number of concerns about the standard of care that has been provided by the District Care Trust.

“This has been raised by the unions, the Health Care Commission and others and led to the referral in March of a group of residents to the Adult Safeguarding Board.

“Included in those concerns are three unexpected deaths. Councillors must assure themselves that these are not ‘deaths by indifference’.”

The matter will now be discussed tonight at the Council’s social care scrutiny committee – with a number of questions from Coun Sunderland needing answering.

These include: l What led to the level of care being provided by the District Care Trust to be of such standards to cause the residents to be referred?

l Have the actions taken been sufficient to ensure that those involved are satisfied that the services provided by the District Care Trust are now safe?

Coun Sunderland said she was now satisfied about the safety of that group of residents, but that it was up to the scrutiny committee to ensure that the services across the district were now safe.

Councillor Ian Greenwood, the Labour group leader, said: “The question that needs asking is does the care trust believe there is a wider problem with levels of care provided across the district?”

Councillor Dale Smith, the Council’s executive member for social care, was unavailable for comment yesterday.

The Care Quality Commission, which regulates health and social care in England, confirmed there was an internal inquiry into a residential care home in Bradford, and that it was awaiting the publication of the inquiry report.

In a statement Moira Wilson, the Council’s strategic director for adult services, said: “The Council, NHS Bradford and Airedale and Bradford District Care Trust are aware of the concerns that have been raised and are working together to ensure services are provided to a high quality.

“We will continue to investigate immediately any concerns regarding the quality of care that vulnerable adults in the district receive.

“Following concerns expressed by the Care Quality Commission, we have already carried out investigations and have made progress in implementing an action plan to improve learning disability services.

“The work we are doing builds on our joint review of learning disabilities services that sets out how we plan to transform these services in future years. “We have recognised that a new approach to the way services are commissioned and provided is needed to make sure all people with a learning disability have greater choice, freedom and control over their lives.”