Nursing home manager struck off for failing to act on abuse claims

NMC sanctions three former staff at Tyspane care home in Devon over patient neglect

NMC sanctions three former staff at Tyspane care home in Devon over patient neglect

Tyspane care home, which sits near the north Devon coast

A nursing home manager was struck off for failing to act on allegations of verbal and physical abuse of vulnerable residents.

Monica Watterson, former general manager of Tyspane care home near Barnstaple in north Devon was one of three nurses sanctioned in relation to care at the home undertaken in 2017.

Failure to safeguard in light of abuse allegations

A Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing in November last year, heard how Ms Watterson failed to raise safeguarding concerns after abuse was reported to her.

She had been informed of a number of allegations in June 2017, including that a care assistant slapped a resident, held the woman's nose and had shaken her head. However, the manager took no action until contacted by the Care Quality Commission the following month.

The NMC panel also found Ms Watterson had falsified records that staff had completed training and appraisals.

The panel said she had misused power, showed a lack of insight into her failings and had put patients at risk.

Deputy manager took no action when a patient was deteriorating  

The home's former deputy manager Maria Coomber received a 12-month suspension order.

Many of the charges against Ms Coomber concerned a deteriorating resident who was not eating and drinking.

‘The safety and well-being of our residents is of the utmost importance and we have zero tolerance for those that don't uphold that principle’

Barchester Healthcare

Despite being told about the woman's condition, the panel found Ms Coomber did not take observations or carry out regular checks.

Neither did she instruct other staff to do so, or to escalate concerns when her condition failed to improve. 

Instead, another nurse called an ambulance. The woman was admitted to hospital, where she died two days later.

In mitigation, the panel noted Ms Coomber had returned from an extended period of sick leave and was working reduced hours at the time of the misconduct.

Staff nurse showed remorse and insight afterwards

Lead staff nurse Amanda Lethaby was given a one-year caution for her failure to check on the deteriorating patient and assess her fluid input, as well as not completing checks and risk assessments for other individuals.

The panel said Ms Lethaby ‘had learnt a bitter lesson as a result of the incidents’ and was remorseful, demonstrating sufficient insight. 

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It said she had not been given sufficient information about her role and had not been told she had supervisory duties. She had not had induction training, and mentoring that had been promised had not been given.

Operator’s ‘commitment to safety and well-being’

A spokesperson for home operator Barchester Healthcare said the staff were no longer employed at the home.

‘The safety and well-being of our residents is of the utmost importance and we have zero tolerance for those that don't uphold that principle,’ they said.

 ‘We worked with the relevant authorities throughout their investigation and would like to reassure everyone our commitment is to the safety and well-being of our residents and this is reflected in everything we do.’

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