Two council workers have been suspended and will face further disciplinary action following a report which found that officials had failed to care for an 81-year-old woman (Gloria Foster) who died after being left without food or medication for nine days.
Foster died in Epsom hospital 11 days after being admitted.
The serious case review into the death of Gloria Foster, published on Monday by Surrey Safeguarding Adults, says:
“Council officials neglected to call her to make alternative care arrangements when the care company looking after her was raided and closed down by immigration officials.”
An official subsequently attempted to cover up the oversight, noting in the official log that a phone call had been made to Foster’s home. Police records show that there were no calls made to her by the council over the relevant period, according to the serious case review.”
Surrey county council apologised for its failures and said disciplinary action would be taken against two members of staff who had already been suspended.
According to The Guardian, Care was put in place for everyone except for Foster, a frail widow with dementia, who depended totally on the visits from carers.
“A note placed in the log book after the discovery of Foster’s body stated that a call was made to her home, noting that there was no response, but police records showed that no calls were made.”
The review states:
“Further inquiries have since established that Surrey county council’s telephone systems (landline and mobile) do not contain a record of a call being made to Mrs Foster across a three-week period including 14-16 January 2013.
Yet on 25 January it was recorded in the Surrey ASC adults integrated solution (AISS) that there was no reply to a telephone call made to Mrs Foster on 16 January 2013.
Mrs Foster’s phone did not have an answerphone facility but the police have confirmed there were no incoming calls from any relevant party.”
The serious case review panel has concluded that this discrepancy about phone calls “should be the subject of further Surrey county council investigations”.
Surrey county council’s strategic director for adult social care, Sarah Mitchell, apologised for what had happened to Foster:
“We are very sorry for our failure to help Gloria Foster to get the support she needed. This report points out we should have done more and we completely accept that,” she said.
“While we have already made changes following this dreadful case, we’ll now act on these findings to do all we can to prevent anything like this happening again.
Two members of staff have been suspended and we’ll be taking disciplinary action in light of these findings.”