North East Wales

Prestatyn care home owner fined over residents' neglect

Highcroft home in Prestatyn
Image caption The court heard the home is now being sold

A care home owner has been fined almost £6,000 and ordered to pay £15,000 court costs for the neglect of three elderly people in her care.

Brenda Smyth, 66, who runs the Highcroft home in Prestatyn, admitted five offences, including allowing two of her residents to develop bed sores.

She also admitted failing to ensure she had enough competent staff on duty.

Prestatyn magistrates heard she had an unblemished record until now. The home is up for sale.

The court heard that in two cases two residents suffering from bed sores failed to receive medical help, even though the condition was causing them pain and discomfort.

In another case, a resident was not seen by a doctor after tripping and hurting her foot which was badly bruised and swollen.

Another incident highlighted to the court was that a resident was told she could not be helped with her clothing, because there was only one carer on duty.

Smyth, who has worked in care for nearly 50 years, has run Highcroft since 2003.

Her defence barrister Elen Owen told the court she has had an unblemished record, until now, and works up to 80 hours a week.

She also said that the son of the elderly lady who had hurt her foot supported Smyth and was confused that she was being prosecuted for an offence involving his mother.

Miss Owen said Smyth had since been subject to numerous unannounced inspections and reviews and no problems identified.

"The registration continues in place. If there were any concern at all that clearly wouldn't be the case," she said.

"This has been two years and two moths of hell for Mrs Smyth. It's had a devastating effect on her health and emotional wellbeing."

The prosecution claimed the offences highlighted systemic problems with the management of the home, including poor communication between staff, a lack of responsibility and leadership.

After the hearing, Gwynfor Jones, policy adviser with Care Forum Wales, which represents independent care providers, said: "We do need to address serious issues like this.

"Thankfully, they don't occur very often."

The Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) said in a statement the safety and well being of people living in registered service is paramount and the prosecution is a clear example how it uses its powers of enforcement.

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