Freckleton care home where grandmother was brutally attacked still 'requires improvement' nearly three years later

The company which oversees the Freckleton care home where a 91-year-old woman was beaten to death in 2019 says the safety of its residents is of the 'utmost importance' - despite the home still holding a 'requires improvement' rating nearly three years later.

By Wes Holmes
Thursday, 16th December 2021, 10:58 am

The Old Vicarage on Naze Lane, Freckleton, was placed in special measures by the CQC ten months after Jessie MicKinlay was savagely attacked by another resident there, as inspectors found people living there were still at risk of serious harm.

Mrs McKinlay, 91, was thrown to the floor, punched and kicked by Alan Whiteside, 75, in the early hours of February 14 2019. She suffered a broken hip, a broken arm, and a brain bleed, and died nine weeks later.

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Jessie McKinlay and her dog Oscar

Ten months following the attack, in December 2019, the home was placed in special measures after a CQC inspection found a number of serious regulation breaches there.

A CQC spokesman said: "There is a history of non-compliance and people were at risk of avoidable harm. Medicines were not always managed safely which placed people at risk of harm. Care records did not always reflect discussions about people’s needs or the equipment they required to maintain their safety."

The home was rated as 'requires improvement' on five consecutive inspections between October 2015 and April 2019. It was rated inadequate in November 2019, and currently holds a 'requires improvement' status.

Despite this, Aegis Residential Care Homes Limited, which oversees the Old Vicarage, say improvements have been made following Mrs McKinlay's death.

A spokesman for the company, which operates five other 'good' rated homes, said: "Aegis Residential Care Homes Limited takes this opportunity at the conclusion of Mrs McKinlay’s inquest to reiterate its sincere condolences to her family and friends. Aegis has listened carefully to the comments made by the coroner at the conclusion of the inquest; the safety of residents is of the utmost importance to Aegis and it strives to create an environment where residents and their families can feel secure.

"Whilst processes and procedures have already been reviewed and updated since Mrs McKinlay’s sad death in 2019, further internal review will be undertaken to reflect on the conclusion of the hearing."

At an inquest which took place at Blackpool town hall this week, the court heard that Mr Whiteside, who suffered from dementia, was known to be aggressive and had attacked both residents and staff before. Despite this, he was allowed to wander around the home, and would frequently go into other people's rooms.

Handing down a narrative conclusion, coroner Alan Wilson said: "During recent months, (Mr Whiteside) was known to have been verbally and physically aggressive towards staff and, more recently, towards other residents.

"In October 2018 efforts had been made to reduce his levels of agitation by a change of medication... but within weeks his aggressive behaviour became more regular. He was known to wander into the rooms of other residents. The extent of the risk he posed to other residents was not fully appreciated, in part because social workers and mental health professionals were not aware of the extent of his aggressive behaviour."

Mrs McKinlay's daughter Georgina said: “There are agencies in there who knew what was going on, who knew he was attacking people - staff, service users -and yet nothing was done.

“Alan should never have been in that home. He was aggressive to his wife, they protected his wife quite rightly, and by doing that put him in a home full of vulnerable people.

“I want the agencies to get their act together and to learn some lessons. They always talk about lessons learned, they do it all the time, and yet these things keep happening. I want someone to take account and to look at what they are doing. They claim they are protecting people and it didn’t happen in this case, and they didn’t protect anyone, and nobody is being taken to account.

“As a family we’re not finished here. We will definitely carry on talking about this trying to get people to realise that this is going on and nothing is being done about it.”

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