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02 Jun 2017
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A care provider has been fined £190,000 following the death of a disabled resident who broke his neck at a nursing home in West Yorkshire.

Watchdog the Care Quality Commission prosecuted Leeds-based St Anne's Community Services after 62-year-old Kevin McNally died at the home in Smithies Moor Lane, Birstall, in April last year.

Bradford Magistrates' Court was told that Mr McNally, who had Down’s syndrome, epilepsy, dementia and a severe learning disability, had lived in the nursing home since 2012.

In April 2015 two care workers had gone to Mr McNally's bedroom to help him take a shower using a shower commode chair. The shower chair fell forwards while he was loosely strapped in. Staff attempted to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead in hospital.

Jenny Ashworth, prosecuting, told the court that the provider had failed to adequately control the risk of serious injury and the accident was avoidable.

This accident was entirely avoidable. The risk of people sustaining serious injuries because safety or posture belts are not used properly has been well known for some time. Yet St Anne’s Community Services failed in its duty to ensure that care and treatment was provided in a safe way, and as a result Kevin McNally died. It is a tragedy which need not have happened.

"When serious incidents occur, we now have additional powers to hold providers to account in the courts. In future if we find that a care provider has put people in its care at risk of harm, we will always consider using those powers to the full to prosecute those who are responsible."    – Debbie Westhead, deputy chief inspector of adult social care

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Why you should vote leave - Jim Sillar - LDAS Big Meeting 24/5/16

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 Regular website visitors will be aware of the long term campaign for guidelines on the use of restraint for disabled childrem.  

Now Beth Morrison has been  awarded Special Award for Outstanding Achievement at BILD PBS Leadership Awards

 

A local authority is facing a judicial review challenge over its plans for a £225,000 funding reduction to short break services.  The legal action against West Berkshire Council is being brought by the families of two severely disabled children, a 14-year-old boy (B) and an 8-year-old girl (E) from Newbury.

West Berkshire’s budget for short breaks will reportedly be cut by 54% to £190,000 for 2016/17 following a decision made by the council at a meeting on 1 March.

The claimants argue that the funding reduction is unlawful, including breaching the Breaks For Carers of Disabled Children Regulations 2011. The regulations are designed to safeguard the needs of carers who would be better able to care for their disabled child more effectively if short breaks were provided.

The parents of B, who has autism and a rare neurodevelopmental disorder called William’s Syndrome, said the “life-saving” short breaks services enabled their son not only to have meaningful social experiences, but gave them a much needed break to spend quality time with his siblings and each other.

The parents of E, who is eight years old and has autism, ADHD, epilepsy and cortical dysplasia, said they relied on short breaks services to give E the opportunity to play with children her own age and so they can spend quality time with their 12-year-old son.

The claimants said the cuts meant B and E would no longer be able to access the same level of services as they did before.

Alice Cullingworth, a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, said the council had been invited to reverse its decision and “think again” after having assessed the sufficiency of short breaks for families in West Berkshire. The authority has also been asked to apply some of its reserves to prevent cuts to short breaks.

She added: “There is no evidence West Berkshire properly analysed the level of demand for children’s short breaks services or what services will be available to meet this demand with a reduced budget of £190,000 for 2016/17.

“Nor is there proper and lawful consideration as to whether the council will be providing a sufficient range of day-time care, overnight care, educational or leisure activities, and services to assist carers in the evenings, weekends or school holidays as the law requires.”

Steve Broach of Monckton Chambers has been instructed by Irwin Mitchell as counsel for the claimants.

A spokesman for West Berkshire said: “We are aware that a judicial review application has been made by Irwin Mitchell. We do not believe it is well founded. We will not be in a position to comment further until the legal proceedings have concluded.”

The London Borough of Ealing is facing legal action over proposals to close a respite care facility for young people with complex disabilities.

The proceedings against the council are being brought by law firm Irwin Mitchell on behalf of the family of a 17-year-old, severely disabled boy (C) who has used Heller House in Southall for two nights per week since December 2010. C has also used the nine-bedroom children’s home for short breaks.

Ealing took the decision on 16 February to close the facility. The claimant argues, however, that no alternative respite care has been formalised and children who use Heller House could be forced to travel out of the borough.

Calling on the council to rescind its decision, Irwin Mitchell claimed that, because Ealing decided to close the facility without knowing whether there would be suitable alternative services available, the decision was in breach of the Equality Act 2010 as the council did not know whether and how disabled children would be detrimentally affected.

The law firm said C’s family relied on respite services to enable him to have meaningful social interactions with other youngsters in a safe and controlled environment as well as to give them a much needed break to spend time with their other children, including C’s 20-year-old brother who also has autism and complex needs and lives in a residential placement most of the time.

Alice Cullingworth, a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, said: “We have spoken to a number of families who have told us that they would like to use the Heller House service if it were available, who either did not know about it or have not been able to access the service to date. 

“It’s clear that by closing the only in-borough provider of overnight respite that there is a risk that if alternative providers lack capacity out of borough then children may not be able to access services to meet their assessed needs.”

She added: “We have spoken to a local councillor, Jon Ball, who confirmed that in his opinion it appears negotiations between Ealing Council and other local authorities are far from concrete, and that only very superficial conversations with other local authorities have been conducted to date.

 

“Councillor Ball confirmed to us that he believes there is no agreement presently with other local authorities, even in outline, which means a decision has been made to close this invaluable facility without a concrete alternative for the young people who so highly depend on it.”