AFTER the police probe into events at St Michael’s View, nurse Daphne Joseph and care assistant Sean Abbott were both charged and later convicted.
Joseph, a 47-year-old single mum who came to the UK from Guyana in 2004, pleaded guilty to wilful neglect in the case of Joyce Wordingham and was handed a nine-month jail term, suspended for 12 months, when she appeared at Newcastle Crown Court last year.
Judge Mr Justice Coulson said Mrs Wordingham, 80, would not have died if emergency medical care had been sought.
The court heard Joseph was the only qualified nurse on duty that night, caring for 29 residents.
Mr Justice Coulson said: “Your neglect was part of an endemic culture of neglect. You had not been trained properly and that failure, which was not your responsibility, was directly relevant to the tragedy that happened.”
Joseph appeared before a Nursing and Midwifery Council hearing earlier this year, where she avoided being struck off the nursing register and was instead handed a one-year conditions of practice order which means she is required to work under a mentor and must always have a registered nurse on duty at the same time as her.
n Sean Abbott was jailed for 12 months at Newcastle Crown Court in March last year.
The 22-year-old left two care home residents “screaming and in tears” after carrying out “painful and intimate” procedures on the elderly pair.
The court heard that, despite having no medical qualifications, the 22-year-old carried out a “wholly degrading and humiliating” act on John McEwan, 84, and Gladys Guilbert, 89, at St Michael’s View care home.
Abbott admitted four charges of assault in relation to the two patients, who have both since died.
Judge John Evans told Abbott: “You had no regard or respect for the dignity of the two individuals.”
The judge said it was “extra-ordinary” no steps were taken at the time after one of Abbott’s colleagues who witnessed one of the assaults reported what she had seen to a more senior member of staff. The judge added: “The shortcomings of other staff who might be said to be partially if not equally culpable is a consideration to which I have regard.
“It may well be there are others, indeed some in a more senior position, that should be sitting in the dock with you.”
Caroline Goodwin, defending, said Abbott has been held up as a scapegoat for what happened at the home while others have gone unpunished.
n Since February this year, the Nursing and Midwifery Council has held Fitness to Practice hearings involving nine former members of staff at the home.
In August, Sonia Pharoah, who had been manager of the home at the time of the police investigation in 2010, was struck off the nursing register.
She failed to tell the Care Quality Commission (QCC) of the subsequent police investigation, a medical tribunal heard, and also admitted not properly assessing residents admitted to the home, and failing to have adequate care plans in place.
She accepted charges that she did not conduct or record monthly audits of residents’ records, failed to ensure all patients had access to emergency call bells in their rooms, and did not provide adequate training to nursing staff.
The deputy manager of the home at the time was also struck off the nursing register, as was another former nurse, Ailsa King.
Other sanctions included three former nurses at the home being given one-year suspension order, a six months conditions of practice order and a four-year caution order.