Lancaster nursing home manager struck off five years after abuse

Hillcroft Nursing Home, Throstle Grove, Slyne wth Hest.
Hillcroft Nursing Home, Throstle Grove, Slyne wth Hest.
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The manager of a nursing home near Morecambe where staff “horribly abused” vulnerable residents has been struck off.

Elaine Fallowfield, who was the manager of Hillcroft Nursing Home in Slyne between 2009 and 2012, was struck off following a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) hearing in London.

Michael Rowlinson, whose father Norman Rowlinson was ill-treated at the home, said the families of the victims will never know how the victims felt about their mistreatment.

A police investigation into the abuse at the home, which took place between 2010 and 2011, found that four members of staff took part in actions including throwing beanbags at residents’ heads, slapping them, causing them distress by flicking their ears, and mocking them. There was an incident where a resident was tipped from a wheelchair and another where a resident’s foot was stamped on.

All four staff members were found guilty in criminal proceedings.

Mrs Fallowfield, who did not attend the hearing last week, was accused of failure to appropriately follow safeguarding procedures when concerns were raised regarding the abuse of residents.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Hulme, of Lancashire Police said: “At the time Fallowfield was made aware of the allegations but failed to take appropriate action with the staff members to ensure the safety of those entrusted to her charge.

“Following consultation with partner agencies, we referred her case to the NMC for further consideration, and are pleased that following a hearing this week they have now decided she will be struck off the register. The victims suffered horribly and the crimes had a devastating effect on their families, who then had to go through the ordeal of a trial. We now hope the outcome of this week’s hearing will give them some closure so they can start to move forward with their lives.”

Mr Rowlinson said: “Because of their illnesses, we will never know how the victims of these crimes felt about their mistreatment, but I do know that the trial was incredibly hard for my family and the families of the other victims and we were pleased at the time to see justice served against the four members of staff. It is only right that Elaine Fallowfield should also face the consequences of her actions – or her lack of action.

“She held a position of responsibility, but was complicit in the mistreatment of some of the most vulnerable members of the community, failing both them and the families who put their trust in her.

“I am glad the NMC has looked into the matter and that its hearing has concluded with her being struck off.

“I would once again like to take this opportunity to commend those members of staff who displayed great courage and decency in speaking out against the behaviour of these few members of staff.

“We have waited a long time for this conclusion and whilst we will never forget what happened, I hope that it will enable my family and the families of the other victims to draw a line under the events of the last five years.”

In 2013, Darren Smith, 35, of Howgill Avenue, Lancaster, pleaded guilty to eight offences of being a carer involved in the ill treatment and wilful neglect of a person with lack of capacity contrary to the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

At a trial later the same year Katie Cairns, 27, of Riverview Court, Morecambe was found guilty of three counts and Gemma Pearson, 28, of Hill Street, Carnforth, and Carol Moore, 54, of Ripon Avenue, Lancaster, were both convicted of one count of the same offence.