Bradford councillor says heads must roll after report findings

A senior councillor is calling for the chairman of Bradford District Care Trust to step down following an independent inquiry into learning disability services in the district.

Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor Jeanette Sunderland made the call for Dr Barry Seal to go as the results of the review by regional health chiefs was made public.

It came after the death of two residents at Weaver Court residential care home in Idle and one death at Lynfield Mount Hospital’s Highfield Unit.

NHS Yorkshire and Humber looked at the internal reports into the three “serious untoward incidents” as well as reviewing the visits by the Care Quality Commission at Weaver Court which resulted in the home being given a zero star rating.

Coun Sunderland, whose ward includes Idle, said: “The independent investigation is a poor attempt at getting to the bottom of this sad affair. There is confusion about who does what and this is writ large in what has happened to these people.

“Everybody has got somebody to hide behind and these people deserve somebody’s head to roll for this.”

The review concluded there had been substandard practice, but action plans were immediately co-ordinated to address the concerns and significant improvements have already been made. It resulted in 14 recommendations being made.

Labour group leader, Councillor Ian Greenwood, said: “Some of the most vulnerable people imaginable have been let down in the most appalling ways and I am unconvinced that all the questions have been properly answered.

“How do you reach the point where someone spends five years in “temporary” accommodation, where a vulnerable adult is able to repeatedly access clinical waste or where someone without relatives receives second class treatment because no-one is speaking up for them?”

The Council’s executive member for social care, Councillor Dale Smith, said he deeply regretted three vulnerable people did not receive the “diligent, quality care from health and care services” to which they are entitled.

“While the deaths are un-connected, we have learned lessons from the report and will continue to do so, taking immediate action and monitoring improvements in the quality of care for vulnerable adults.”

A joint statement issued by NHS Bradford and Airedale, the Bradford Council and Bradford District Care Trust, said: “It is fully recognised that regrettably there was substandard practice across health organisations and social care.

“The findings did not state this led directly to the deaths of the three people concerned. All three had complex health needs and died from natural causes.

“The report also recognises action was taken immediately to address these concerns and minimise future risks, and improvements to services have been made which have been recognised by external review.”

Professor Sue Proctor, the chief nurse at NHS Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “The report, commissioned by NHS Yorkshire and the Humber, is both comprehensive and robust.

“We are disappointed that Councillor Sunderland does not recognise the value of the report and its recommendations, which will help ensure that lessons are learned from these incidents.”