’Neglect’ home manager under emotional strain

editorial image

The former manager of a Halifax care home has told a jury that some of the nursing staff had to be “constantly chased” to do their jobs and some failed to carry out checks on residents’ dressings.

Faheza Simpson was overcome with emotion as she told Bradford Crown Court about the stress she was under at the privately-run Elm View nursing in the months leading up to the arrival of police and NHS staff in October 2011.

Simpson, 49, of Huddersfield Road, Holmfirth, had been manager at the home for three years, but she told the jury that she couldn’t cope with everything and the work was putting a lot of emotional strain on her.

Simpson and the home’s owner Philip Bentley, 65, of Woodthorpe Drive, Sandal, Wakefield, have both denied charges relating to the neglect of elderly residents who suffered pressure sores while at the premises.

Simpson is alleged to have been responsible for neglecting three women and a male resident during 2011 while Bentley is accused of being involved in the neglect of the three women.

The court heard today how in December 2011 a male nurse lifted an 81-year-old woman into a wheelchair after a fall, but failed to call an ambulance even though she had suffered a fractured left hip.

Simpson described how she arrived at work that morning to find Mildred Threadgold sitting in the wheelchair with blood running down her face from a head wound.

She said while an investigation was undertaken into the nurse’s actions she had to be extra vigilant with his work on the night shift and he was eventually dismissed for gross negligence and incompetence about six months later.

A female nurse was also dismissed in July 2011 for her unprofessional behaviour which included shouting at Simpson in front of other staff and residents.

The court heard that the nurse had also been pre-signing medication sheets and refused to carry out Simpson’s instructions.

“How were you managing to juggle your job as manager while being extra vigilant with regard to two of the nurses?” asked her barrister Michelle Colborne QC.

“It was very stressful,” said Simpson.

“It was a lot of emotional strain on myself because I had to constantly chase the nurses to make sure their work was done.”

Simpson also claimed that carers told her about nursing staff not changing dressings for residents as instructed.

“You would be told by carers that although dressings had to be checked and changed, if appropriate, nurses were not performing that task but were ticking to say it was done?” queried Judge Jonathan Rose.

“Yes,” replied Simpson.

“Beyond writing in the diary the extra instructions did you speak with any of the nurses at handover or any occasion to say this isn’t good enough?” asked Miss Colborne.

“Yes,” said Simpson.

“Generally how did you feel as to whether nurses were following your instructions in 2011” said Miss Colborne.

“I felt very disheartened at that point because I felt I was being challenged on every instruction...and the staff weren’t doing the job I was expecting.”

The trial continues.