Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Probes Expose a Series of Flaws

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Probes Expose a Series of Flaws

Article excerpt

Byline: LAURA CAROE

A SCABIES outbreak at a care home run by Southern Cross is the latest crisis to hit the firm.

The healthcare provider, which has more than 80 homes in the North East and 730 nationally, has been condemned over a series of problems this year.

Last month we reported how an investigation was underway after retired fireman Thomas Pattison died alone in hospital.

Gateshead Council launched an inquiry into the care of the 81-yearold, who lived in the company's St Mark's Court care home, in Deckham, after his family were not informed of his death.

Concerns were also raised about treatment the pensioner, of Heworth, Gateshead, had received at the home.

Now the residential centre is at the centre of a fresh inquiry after an outbreak of scabies.

It comes after another Southern Cross property, Armstrong House in Bensham, was closed to new admissions after reports of medication errors, residents left cold and covered in food stains and a stench of urine and odour filling the home were made to watchdog the Care Quality Commission watchdog.

Michael Laing, director of adult care and housing at Gateshead Council, said: "Whilst we can confirm that we are carrying out investigations at Armstrong House, we cannot at this stage comment on individual cases as this may jeopardise the success of those investigations.

"We are aware of the problems at St Mark's and will be working with our partners to ensure that the care home provides suitable standards of care."

Notwithstanding that, St Mark's care home is rated on the care home watchdog's website as three star, or excellent.

The Care Quality Commission's most recent report into the home was carried out in December 2008.

In March, Armstrong House received a zero star, or poor, rating, from the same body.

Detectives have also launched an investigation into the death of pensioner Joyce Wordingham at Southern Cross's St Michael's View nursing home in South Shields, along with the deaths of 15 other residents.

Mrs Wordingham died from bronchial pneumonia but police are keen to establish the circumstances surrounding her death. …

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