Former manager of nursing home in Halifax breaks down in tears at court

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The former manager of a Halifax nursing home broke down in tears as she told a jury about improvements she made after taking over at the zero-rated premises.

Qualified nurse Faheza Simpson is accused of being responsible for the neglect of four elderly residents at the privately-run Elm View nursing home in 2011, but she told Bradford Crown Court how everyone was ‘’over the moon’’ when its quality rating improved from zero to two stars within months of her arrival in October 2008.

Simpson, who described her management style as authoritarian, said her approach was always professional, but the standards at the home had to go up.

She said the facilities were in a poor state and she had to introduce an activities coordinator to stimulate the then 16 residents.

Simpson said she told the home’s owner Philip Bentley that it was ‘’a bigger challenge’’ than she thought and a promised deputy manager never arrived in all the time she was there.

The court heard how Simpson had to re-write all the residents out-of-date care plans and refurbishment work was undertaken to improve the environment of the home.

When inspectors made an unannounced visit in March 2009 the home was rated as a two-star premises.

The jury heard earlier how Simpson told police she had ‘’done a good job’’ when she was interviewed about the care of elderly residents at the home.

The prosecution has alleged that Simpson, 49, was responsible for the neglect suffered by three women and a man at the home on Huddersfield Road, but during one of her police interviews in May 2012 she said she had a good reputation at the home.

Simpson, of Huddersfield Road, Holmfirth, has denied the four neglect charges arising out of pressure sores suffered by residents.

‘’The relatives were, you know, a lot of them were happy,’’ she told officers.

‘’Very rarely I’ve had complaints and I think from my point of view I’ve done a good job there.’’

But Simpson claimed her hands were tied when it came to spending money and suggested that she couldn’t get nursing staff because the home owner Philip Bentley hadn’t paid his bills.

‘’So I end up working because he’s got no choice,’’ she claimed.

‘’I can’t leave residents unattended and as the manager I would actually have to do it.’’

The jury at Bradford Crown Court has heard that Simpson also alleged that she had had to dismiss several staff in the wake of two visits from the Border Agency, but a senior officer from the immigration service said they had no records of any enforcement visits to Elm View.

Simpson told police she was having to do the jobs of ten people in a day because of the different roles she had at the home, but she denied the suggestion that standards were not high.

She also dismissed claims that she was bullying and rude in her managerial style and denied threatening one member of staff with suspension if he did not write out a statement about a resident the way she wanted it.

Bentley, 65, of Woodthorpe Drive, Sandal, Wakefield, has also denied the same four neglect charges and today/yesterday Judge Jonathan Rose directed the jury to find him not guilty on one allegation relating to 68-year-old Ian Ball.

Mr Ball had gone into the home in March 2011 for one week’s respite care and the judge told the jury that after reviewing the evidence at the end of the prosecution case he had decided there was no evidence on that charge against Bentley.

The trial continues.