Council and health chiefs have launched a review of care provision in Hartlepool after the closure of a facility run by a shamed boss jailed after the death of an elderly resident.
Admiral Court Nursing Home, in Cleveland Road, Hartlepool – which was operated by Matt Matharu who was jailed following the death of the pensioner at the town’s Parkview care home – has closed.
The home ceased operating after inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found a number of failings and ruled it was inadequate, advising that residents be moved out.
Problems at the home included placing residents needing adapted wheelchairs on the first floor, despite the lift not being big enough and them being unable to leave for “some months”.
Hartlepool Borough Council’s Adult Services Committee heard that as a result of recent home closures, plans must be put in place to prevent a shortage of elderly care in the future.
In a statement after the meeting, Jill Harrison, the council’s assistant director of adult services said: “NHS Hartlepool and Stockton on Tees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is working closely with the council to review current provision of nursing care home beds across Hartlepool and to assess the number of beds needed to meet projected future demand.
This is a complex issue to address as we know that people are living longer and that there are increasing demands for care and support, but at the same time we are developing services that provide alternatives to nursing and residential care and aiming to support more people in their own homes.
“This is a complex issue to address as we know that people are living longer and that there are increasing demands for care and support, but at the same time we are developing services that provide alternatives to nursing and residential care and aiming to support more people in their own homes. We are meeting with providers to discuss this issue and our priority is to ensure that there is sufficient, high quality local provision to meet the needs of people who require this level of support.”
The committee meeting heard that those residents who had wanted to, had been able to stay in Hartlepool, and a number had chosen to move to the East Durham area.
Ms Harrison said the CQC made a decision that a number of residents needed to be moved from the home because of the complexity of their needs.
She told the meeting this week: “It has now ceased to operate as a nursing home. The last resident left Admiral Court on Friday. The home is no longer operating.”
She added: “The CQC identified a range of concerns and breaches of regulations and it is currently rated as inadequate. We have been working closely with the CCG to ensure that the residents are safe and receiving the appropriate care and support.”
Councillor Steve Thomas, who also attended the meeting said: “Now with the loss of Admiral Court we have some serious problems around nursing care in the town.
“It was quite specialist provision, and hopefully with some of the new providers coming into town we will quite soon see restored capacity.
“There are some real big issues around care, not just in Hartlepool but nationally.
“And we are going to be facing some massive budget cuts and we could be in a position where the dam is about to burst. We have an ageing populating with an increasing demand for complex care needs all of which is happening when budgets are being cut. We really do need to have a look at where we are in Hartlepool with the provision of care and that needs to happen sooner rather than later.”
Matharu runs three care homes in the town, which are Four Winds Residential Home, in Elwick Road, Highnam Hall, in Park Avenue, and Parkview Residential Home, in Seaton Carew.
He also has a director role in a company called Four Winds Care Ltd which runs Admiral Court, and has involvement with Finchworth Ltd which runs Dinsdale Lodge, in Station Lane, and involvement with another company called Craigarran Nursing Home Partnership which owns a home called Craigarran in Deaf Hill.
The CQC launched probes into Matharu’s homes.
As well as Admiral Court, the CQC branded Four Winds Residential Home, Highnam Hall, Parkview, and Dinsdale Lodge as inadequate.
Craigarran is said to be inspected in the near future.
The Mail attempted to make contact with Four Winds Care but has yet had no response.
Jailed after showing ‘reckless disregard’ to OAPs
Matharu was jailed for eight-months following the death of a pensioner who fell from a window at one of his homes.
A judge said Matt Matharu had shown a “reckless disregard” for health and safety which led to the death of Norah Elliott after she plunged from a conservatory roof at Parkview care home in Seaton Carew, in October 2012.
Matharu, 50, was found guilty of two breaches under the Health and Safety at Work Act following a trial at Teesside Crown Court at the end of last year.
Judge Michael Taylor said he was satisfied there was no chain on the window which Mrs Elliot, who had tried to leave the home twice earlier that night, climbed out of.
The trial heard it had been removed during a recent refurbishment and had not been replaced.
And a chain on another window in Mrs Elliott’s room could be broken by a police officer with just his little finger.
Mrs Elliott had moved into the home with her husband, who also has dementia, only a few days earlier.
Judge Taylor added Matharu, of Elwick Road, Hartlepool, had ignored previous health and safety warnings from Hartlepool Borough Council around the risks to residents from falls from windows.
The home’s own risk assessment rated the windows as a “severe” risk.
Matharu was also ordered to pay the prosecution’s costs in full of £70,213.
CQC Report: Safety standards needed to be improved
The CQC report into Admiral Court said: “We inspected Admiral Court Care Home on 3, 4, 8 and 15 March 2015.
“This was an unannounced inspection which meant that staff and provider did not know that we would be visiting. We visited in order to check the actions the provider had taken to improve the home.
“We had inspected Admiral Court Care Home in December 2014 and issued a formal warning telling the provider that by 23 February 2015 they must improve the following areas.”
The areas included:
l Management of medicines, as staff were failing to ensure people were protected against the risks associated with the unsafe use and management of medicines.
l Safety and suitability of premises, as the service was failing to ensure people at its property were protected against the risks associated with unsafe or unsuitable premises.
l And by March 9 this year they must ensure there are sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, skilled and experienced persons employed at the home.
The CQC report added: “We had serious concerns about the service provided at the home and found that staff failed to meet the needs of the existing 32 people who resided at the home.
“We found that the provider had commenced major refurbishment work on the top floor but had taken no action to reduce the impact this had upon people who resided on that floor. They had not moved people to a safer environment whilst the work was completed or put measures in place to ensure people were not living in the area whilst the building work was underway.
“We found that staff had admitted people who because of the design of the home needs could not be met. For instance the home is not registered to accept people with a physical disability but the provider had admitted people with physical disabilities who required adapted wheelchairs into the home and onto the first floor. These are larger than regular wheelchairs. The passenger lift at the home was too small to accommodate these wheelchairs yet we found that people with adapted wheelchairs lived upstairs and the only way up or down from this floor for them was to be carried by staff, which is an unsafe practice. We found that these people had not been able to leave the top floor since admission some months earlier.
“The provider had not ensured appropriate arrangements were in place to manage medicines. Neither were people protected from the risks of inadequate nutrition and dehydration. We saw that the provider did not have adequate systems in place to protect service users from abuse caused by acts of omission and neglect. Staff did not ensure suitable arrangements were in place to protect service users against the inappropriate use of physical intervention.”