Crown Cleared

I saw on the BBC that the Crown Nursing Home in Harwell was cleared of the responsibility of the death of eight of the residents in January.

As I was so quick to condemn, it’s only right that I raise this again. I wrote about it previously here.

I want to pick up this information with good grace and move on. I really do. But the broken heating issue still niggles a little with me.

A spokesman for Oxfordshire County Council said the pensioners died of natural causes.

An inquiry found that a breakdown in the heating system at the home played no part in the deaths as an alternative had been provided.

While obviously the inquiry is perfectly served to look into exactly these issues and while not responsible, I was hasty to jump to such a conclusion that broken heating would be linked.

The Oxford Mail provides a few more details.

A spokesman for Oxford County Council is quoted as saying

“As a result of the detailed look there was no evidence to suggest a direct link between the breakdown of the central heating at the nursing home and the sad deaths of people living there, who all died of natural causes.

“Alternative heating was provided by the privately-run home and the quality of care provided by staff during this period was found to be of a good standard.”

He said a further review of the case would be undertaken by the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Adults Board so that any further learning from the case can be shared with other care providers in Oxfordshire.

The CSCI, the Government watchdog that oversees adult social care in England, told the home to improve earlier this month after staff failed to inform them of the deaths and heating problem.

It issued the 16-bed home with a requirement notice, which means it must improve within 48 hours or within a set timescale.

It is the first of four steps of action the CSCI can take when care providers breach regulations.

A commission spokesman said: “As part of the commission’s enforcement powers, we issued the Crown Nursing Home with requirement notices for not informing the commission about several deaths in the home and the failure to inform us of the heating system not working.”

When CSCI is taken into the Care Quality Commission next month – well, I hope it has more teeth than CSCI – I hope it will provide less ‘desk’ inspections – I hope it will return to visiting every home regularly, and by regularly I mean at least annually. I don’t think that is a part of its remit though.

If there is one lesson that can be learnt over the last few weeks and possibly months and even years, it is that saving time with ‘desk’ inspections of targets met is a hideously false economy across the board.

3 thoughts on “Crown Cleared

  1. Of course you can’t directly link the deaths from pnuemonia with the central heating; old people can die from pnuemonia at any time. It’s the fact that the heating was left like that, that there was no sense of urgency about getting it fixed, and that eight people died at the same time of pnuemonia when it was off. I think this is a massive cop-out.

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