Bradbury View: Disabled children were not protected, parents say

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image copyrightThe Percy Hedley Foundation
image captionThe residential home was closed in September when Ofsted inspectors raised safety concerns

Parents of disabled children have accused bosses at a residential home of safeguarding failures after a watchdog identified a catalogue of flaws.

A report on Bradbury View Children's Home in North Tyneside has revealed how staff gave out the wrong medication on 15 occasions, amid other failings.

The unit was closed in September when Ofsted inspectors declared children were at "serious risk of harm".

The Percy Hedley Foundation, which runs the home, said it was "deeply sorry".

Eleven children with complex disabilities and requiring round-the-clock care were living at the 26-bed facility in Killingworth Village, Forest Hall, at the time of its sudden closure.

Many families said they were given just 24 hours' notice and that their children - many with cerebral palsy, communication impairments and complex learning needs - were left "traumatised."

Following Ofsted's findings, the board of trustees commissioned an independent review of the running of Bradbury View which was carried out by the Care Improvement Associates.

Incidents highlighted in the report included:

  • Staff failing to manage properly when children were repeatedly hurt by a child
  • Children being given the wrong medicines on 15 occasions in 2019/2020
  • Inadequate staff training in giving emergency medication, including life-threatening epileptic episodes
  • High staff turnover meaning staff were "unfamiliar" with children's individual needs
  • Management and leadership standards were not met when Ofsted made its inspection

However, when parents asked for a copy of the 109-page report ordered by the board of trustees, they said they were provided with a condensed 30-page version.

Six families were interviewed by an independent social worker in the wake of the closure and compiled a 12-page impact statement.

It told how some children were placed in temporary accommodation unsuitable for their complex needs.

'Health destroyed'

One parent said: "These children need incredible care and incredible safeguarding and that is not what occurred."

In the impact statement, families described their children's distress at losing their home and missing their friends.

They said they felt like they had to "drag information" out of the foundation.

One child was said to have gained excess weight because of a poor diet and another did not receive proper physiotherapy, resulting in a two-week stay in intensive care, according to the statement.

One parent told how their health had been "utterly destroyed" by the upheaval.

"I was admitted to hospital with exhaustion after trying to care for my child at home following the closure," they said.

Another added: "My child needs care 24/7. I had to give up work. The impact on my family has been catastrophic."

image captionChildren were moved to temporary accommodation unsuitable for their complex needs, families said

The foundation said in a statement: "We are deeply sorry for the disruption caused to the children and their parents and carers following the closure.  

"The trustees commissioned the review because they wanted to understand what led to the closure of the service so that we could learn from it and rebuild the trust and confidence of all families, supporters, and commissioners to strengthen the future services we provide.

"The foundation is continuing to work hard at addressing the recommendations from the review.

"Our team supports hundreds of families each day through our special education and care services and we are incredibly proud of the work that everyone does at the foundation."

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