Six arrested over care home claims

Six people have been arrested over alleged mistreatment and neglect of residents in a care home.

The arrests follow a five-month investigation into a number of reported incidents at Hillcroft nursing home in Slyne-with-Hest, Lancaster.

The mistreatment is said to have taken place within the home’s challenging behaviour unit which cares for vulnerable adults with advanced Alzheimer’s disease, said police.

Two men, aged 34 and 26, and four women aged 26, 27, 53 and 59 have been detained at separate addresses in Lancaster and Morecambe. They are being questioned on suspicion of committing offences under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Mental Health Act 1983.

Lancashire County Council’s Adult Services Social Care department made police aware of a complaint they had received about the level of care provided to some residents at the home. The allegations date back to December 2010 with the most recent being reported in February 2012, said police.

Chief Superintendent Richard Bayly, divisional commander at the northern division, said: “These arrests are a culmination of a thorough investigation into serious allegations of mistreatment of residents at Hillcroft Slyne nursing home.

“The inquiry is complicated and we have a team of specialist detectives working on this case who are also offering support to those families who may have had loved ones identified as being allegedly mistreated.”

John Ayrton, managing director of Hillcroft Nursing Homes, which runs five homes in Lancaster and Morecambe, said: “We wish to confirm that since the incidents were brought to our attention we have fully co-operated with the police investigation and continue to work closely with Lancashire County Council, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and North Lancashire Primary Care Trust.”

Steve Gross, Lancashire County Council’s director of commissioning, said: “Throughout the investigation, our primary concern has been the safety and wellbeing of everyone living at the home.

“Together with our colleagues from NHS North Lancashire, we took immediate action to ensure that residents are safe and well cared for, and we are continuing to monitor the home very closely to make sure the proper standards of care are maintained.”