Lancashire launches probe into death of care worker

Lancashire Council is carrying out an internal review into the death of community support worker Philip Ellison. Ellison, 47, was stabbed to death while visiting a supported living scheme for adults with low-risk mental health issues in Fulwood, Preston, last week.

A 51-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and detained under the Mental Health Act in a secure unit. As Community Care went to press, he was still being assessed to see if he was fit to be interviewed.

Following Ellison’s death, his family said: “Philip was a much loved family member, a devoted husband who doted on his three sons. He was very committed to working a job he had done for 8 years and was known and loved in a variety of communities and he will be missed by all.”

Lancashire Council and Lancashire care foundation trust, who jointly fund the scheme, are carrying out a routine “serious untoward incidents” review.

Richard Jones, the council’s executive director of adult and community services, said the review, which is likely to take several weeks, would look at the circumstances surrounding the incident and “try and establish what actually happened and why”.

Following his death, Unison called for a national register of attacks on local government staff, so the scale of the problem can be assessed and tackled.

This call was echoed by visitors to Community Care’s discussion forum, CareSpace, which was flooded with responses to Ellison’s case (see box).

Ellison’s case follows the deaths of Sunderland mental health worker Ashleigh Ewing in 2006, and south London social worker Jenny Morrison in 1998 who were both fatally stabbed by mental health service users.

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