Staff stay despite assault

Two members of staff who assaulted a woman with severe learning
difficulties at a Southwark Council-run residential home remain in
the council’s employment, it emerged this week.

Emily Harvey (not her real name) is blind, has partial hearing,
virtually no speech and severe learning difficulties. Her father
complained to the local government ombudsman about her care at
Bridge House.

In a report on the case, ombudsman Edward Osmotherly said: “She
sustained many injuries (including a fractured skull), and I am not
satisfied that her medication was properly administered.”

He noted that most of her injuries were the result of Harvey
harming herself or having accidents, but said that she also
sustained injuries that could not be adequately explained. Staff at
The Starlings, where Harvey has since been moved, report that there
have been few incidents of challenging behaviour and incidents of
self-injury have been rare. Southwark Council’s social services
director Chris Bull said: “We acknowledge that the level of care
fell short of acceptable standards.”

Both members of staff were initially suspended; one was also
demoted and moved to another residential home. They have both since
been reinstated following a review hearing. Bull refused to comment
on whether they were still working with vulnerable clients.

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