Ex-manager of scandal-hit home is struck off

NURSING FAILURES ... St Michael's View Care Home in South Shields.
NURSING FAILURES ... St Michael's View Care Home in South Shields.

THE former manager of a scandal-hit care home in South Tyneside has been struck off from the nursing profession.

Sonia Pharoah was in charge of St Michael’s View Nursing home in St Michael’s View North, South Shields, when police probed the deaths of 16 residents in 2010.

Staff were suspended – including Ms Pharoah – and one nurse was later convicted of criminal neglect.

The investigation, sparked by the death of 80-year-old resident Joyce Wordingham in February 2010, looked into 15 other deaths at the care home, then under the management of the now-defunct Southern Cross.

Mrs Pharoah failed to tell the Care Quality Commission (QCC) of the subsequent police investigation, a medical tribunal heard.

The ex-care home manager also admitted a string of charges at a misconduct and competence hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Ms Pharoah 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.

A separate charge, which Mrs Pharoah had denied, of failing to ensure appropriate training was given when gaps were identified in training programmes, was proved.

The panel also found proved a charge that she did not keep her knowledge and skills updated, by not undertaking training in the prevention and control of infection and moving and handling of patients.

Stephen Barker, panel chairman at the hearing, told Mrs Pharoah: “In the panel’s professional judgement, this lack of management was driven by a lack of personal knowledge of the nursing process.

“Secondly, you exhibited significant managerial failings. Whilst these did not, in most cases, lead to specific, identifiable harm to identifiable, individual patients, they are still very serious, as they had the ability to impact negatively on the care and wellbeing of so many elderly and vulnerable residents.

“The panel noted there was evidence of a disproportionately large number of resident deaths.

“The panel accept there was no causative link between your failings and those deaths.

“However, it was satisfied failings of the kind identified in the charges could have had serious consequences for patients.

“The panel is satisfied your failings were substantial and serious, and amount to misconduct.”

In striking Mrs Pharoah off, Mr Barker said: “This is an extremely serious case, and this is the only appropriate and proportionate order to sufficiently reflect the need to maintain proper professional standards.”