Former Halifax care home manager struck off after catalogue of failures

The former Laurel Bank Care Home, Holmfield, Halifax.
The former Laurel Bank Care Home, Holmfield, Halifax.

A former manager and previously matron of a now closed Halifax care home has been struck off the Nursing and Midwifery Council register.

At a fitness to practise committee substansive meeting held in London on February 18 and 19, the panel agreed Patricia Linda Parker, former manager of Laurel Bank Care Home, Holmfield, Halifax, should be struck off and also imposed an 18-month interim suspension order on her.

She had been previously subject to regulatory proceedings in 2007 relating to similar, if not almost identical, failings to those in the current case, said the panel.

At that time newspapers reported that, as matron, she was given a caution for five years but allowed to continue nursing. Her deputy matron had been struck off and angry relatives of service users affected by care in the run up to the 2007 hearing complained of “abuse and neglect” suffered by their loved ones, the press reported.

In this latest case, the panel said: “Mrs Parker’s errors were wide-ranging, serious in their nature and occurred over a protracted period of time.

“The panel considered that, as a result of the charges found proved in this case, patients were put at serious risk of harm, and that actual harm did occur to particular patients…
“…Mrs Parker’s actions did seriously fall short of the conduct and standards expected of a nurse, would be viewed as ‘deplorable’ by other members of the nursing profession and the wider public, and amounted to misconduct.”

Details with each charge considered by the hearing included a service user being “at high risk of malnutrition”, some members of staff being unaware another service user even had a pressure ulcer, falls suffered by another service user had not been recorded and during a Care Quality Commission unannounced inspection the medication trolley was left unlocked in the lounge with service users present.

In her Case Management Form, Mrs Parker wrote: “My management and leadership skills were not up to acceptable standards…However none of the above takes any blame or responsibility away from me, I was the failure and for that I feel overwhelming remorse.”

The panel heard Mrs Parker resigned from her position of Home Manager at Laurel Bank on March 17, 2017, and that following another in a series of visits from the CQC finding the home “inadequate”, the provider closed the home on April 8, 2017.

The CQC referred Mrs Parker to the NMC on April 24, 2017, and she retired from nursing on April 30, 2017, the panel was told.

The council alleged that Mrs Parker, as registered manager, held overall responsibility for the failures at the home.

Mrs Parker faced charges of failing to take adequate steps to ensure effective systems were in place for medication management, failing to manage medication safely, failing to maintain the dignity of a service user, failing to record on a service user’s Medication Administration Records chart that certain drugs had been administered to them, and failing to manage service users’ risk of falls.

Other charges she faced included failing to ensure the nutritional needs of service users were met adeuqately, failing to take adequate steps to ensure effective systems were in place for safe pressure area care for service users, and failing to take adequate steps to ensure effective systems were in place for care plans to be acted upon, reviewed and updated.

Mrs Parker also faced charges of failing to safeguard vulnerable service users and/or making appropriate referrals to safeguarding and the CQC, failing to ensure staff had adequate training, failing to ensure that risk assessments were appropriately carried out, failing to ensure the condition attached to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards for one service user was met and failing to maintain a safe environment for service users.

She had indicated she would not attend a hearing and requested the matter be held at a meeting of the panel.

Taking into account she fully admitted all of the charges on her returned Case Management Form in January 2019, and hearing evidence, the panel found all of them proved.

“The Panel was of the view that Mrs Parker’s actions did fall significantly short of the standards expected of a registered nurse, and that her actions amounted to a breach of the (nusres and midwives) code,” it said.

The panel heard Mrs Parker began working at Laurel Bank as a nurse in September 1985, subsequently being promoted to the role of deputy matron and then matron before becoming the home’s Care Quality Commission registered manager in 2010.

Following an unannounced CQC inspection on July 6, 2016, and a further inspection on February 7 and 10, 2017, on both occasions the home was rated “inadequate”.

Although Mrs Parker had retired, the panel said it found it was necessary to strike her off the register because her actions were serious and to allow her to continuing practising would undermine public confidence in the profession and the NMC as a regulatory body.

Nothing short of this would be sufficient in this case, concluded the panel. The suspension order was also imposed in case of an appeal against the order.