Inspectors probe Newcastle care home after man injured

CARE inspectors have been sent into an elderly people’s home after the Chronicle revealed a frail resident suffered broken bones when he wandered unnoticed from the property.

Officers from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Newcastle City Council’s adult services visited Dene Park House in South Gosforth after the pensioner’s accident was revealed.

It emerged the man, believed to be in his 80s, was able to leave the home unnoticed as an alarm system alerting staff to people entering and leaving the property had been switched off. It’s not known how long the system hadn’t been operating.

A spokesman for the CQC, an independent body regulating and reviewing all adult care services, said: “Our inspectors would have gone round as a result of Newcastle City Council asking us to go in as part of their adult safeguarding work.”

Having carried out the review, inspectors must now show their findings to care home owners. It could then be another month before the review is completed.

The incident on January 2 was the second time that morning the pensioner, able to leave the home to visit family and friends, had gone out unnoticed. He was reported missing to Northumbria Police and was later found on the roadside in freezing conditions.

Cathy Ball, director of adult social care at the Newcastle City Council, said: “A formal safe-guarding adults meeting took place last week following this incident. At this meeting Southern Cross informed us of a number of improvements and procedures to prevent something like this happening again.”

The purpose-built home is run by Southern Cross Healthcare, the region’s largest healthcare provider.

“It can look after up to 51 elderly residents offering “around the clock” residential and nursing care. A member of staff has now been suspended pending disciplinary action. In recent years Southern Cross has come under a barrage of criticism. Detectives were called in to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of pensioner Joyce Wordingham at St Michael’s View, South Shields. And an inquiry was also launched into the care of Thomas Pattison, 81, of Heworth, who lived in the company’s St Mark’s Court care home. The inquiry was launched after his family were not informed of his death in hospital.

Last year the firm admitted full liability for an accident at its Stanley Park home in County Durham which left 97-year-old Avis Dawson with a broken hip.