Struck-off nurse is working as manager in Bristol nursing home

But staff and relatives of residents at Blossom Fields in Winterbourne, where she has been working as a care manager for a couple of months, say they are concerned she is still able to hold such a position.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), which is in charge of regulating England's hospitals and care homes, has told the Evening Post that it is carrying out checks on the home after concerns were raised that "essential standards of quality and safety" were not being met.

Mrs Meek was struck off by a panel from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) earlier this month for misconduct in a previous job in Whitchurch. At the hearing in London, she admitted not informing authorities about the deaths of six elderly residents in December 2007 and January 2008 while working at Bamfield Lodge Care Home.

It was found Mrs Meek and her deputy also failed to keep proper drugs records.

One patient was rushed to hospital after Mrs Meek failed to ensure he was given the necessary drugs, the NMC heard.

Grove Care, which owns Blossom Fields, said it was not aware of the NMC hearing when it employed Mrs Meek, but had since been informed and was "still discussing the consequences of the hearing result".

A number of staff and relatives, who read about the hearing in the Evening Post, are concerned Mrs Meek is working at the Winterbourne home.

Most did not wish to be identified.

Heidi Bezar's mother-in-law is in the home. "I read about Isla Meek being struck off but I knew she was working at my mother-in-law's care home," said Miss Bezar, of Winterbourne. "I just couldn't understand it – she should not be allowed to work in a care home if she has been struck off."

Grove Care is a local family-run business with two homes in Winterbourne, one in Bath, and a selection of retirement properties in Winterbourne.

Blossom Fields, which opened last July, has not been open long enough to have had a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published, but is currently being investigated after concerns were raised.

A spokesman for the CQC said: "We are carrying out a check in response to concerns that one or more essential standards of quality and safety are not being met at Blossom Fields. We will publish a report when our check is complete."

In a report of the NMC hearing where Mrs Meek, of Swainswick near Bath, was struck off, it says: "Mrs Meek's failings were very wide ranging. She put her interests ahead of those of her residents.

"Throughout this hearing, she has continued to show a worrying lack of insight into the implications of her past actions.

"After careful thought, the panel has decided that a suspension order would not be a sufficient sanction in this case and that Mrs Meek's misconduct in relation to her management of Bamfield Lodge Care Home was fundamentally incompatible with her continued registration as a nurse."

A spokesperson for the NMC said that a struck off nurse could still work in a care home setting as long as they were not working as a nurse.

The Evening Post contacted Mrs Meek and her employers and Sarah McCarthy Taylor, director of Grove Care, issued a statement on behalf of both parties.

She said: "Isla Meek joined Blossom Fields as care manager in December 2011 to manage the operational and administrative running of our home.

"Her duties do not include anything that involves medication or nursing. We have a clinical lead nurse who is responsible for the audit of medication and our nursing staff administer all medication.

"We carried out full checks on Isla Meek, whose previous role was as a regional manager for a major care home provider and who held a position on the Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire Safeguarding Board.

"We were unaware of the NMC hearing Isla faced dating back to previous employment in 2007 and 2008 until she informed us earlier this month.

"We wrote to all staff and the people we care for and their families to inform them about this matter. We have been in contact with the Care Quality Commission to ensure that we are meeting all regulations and we are still discussing the consequences of the hearing result with Isla Meek.

"Staff and the families of the people we care for have been overwhelmingly supportive in this matter.

"Blossom Fields was routinely inspected on February 13 by the Care Quality Commission and although the outcome of that inspection has not yet been formally announced we have been given very positive feedback by the inspection team that we are meeting all essential standards of quality and safety."

 

Sourced from This Is Bristol, 28th February 2012.