Care home boss faces being struck off over assault investigation


By Rory Reynolds

A FORMER care home boss faces being struck-off the nursing register for failing to report an assault on a mentally ill patient.

It is claimed Donna Murray, 37, was too slow to react after being told about an incident involving an Alzheimer’s patient.

The alleged assault saw Murray and two other members of staff dismissed while one was charged with assault following the incident on February 10, 2008, at Burnfoot Coach House in Lockerbie.

Yesterday a carer who reported the alleged attack gave evidence at a hearing of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s Conduct and Competence Committee in Edinburgh.

Mrs Murray is charged with failing to deal with allegations of abuse against a resident.It is alleged she did not suspend the member of staff involved or report the incident to police, social services and the Care Commission until at least three days after the allegation was made.


Yesterday Claire McGeorge told the tribunal she spotted fellow carer Andrea Alexander slamming the arm of a patient – referred to as Resident A – in a door at the home.

Miss McGeorge also told how Alexander jammed the patient’s arm after struggle as the woman tried to get into a lounge which she was cleaning.

She told how she calmed the patient – who suffered a large bruise on her arm – down.

Miss McGeorge said: “I went to laundry to speak to Fiona Livingstone (another manager), I told her exactly what happened, she said it must have been an accident.

When asked how she felt by the council’s lawyer, Cassandra Scarborough, Miss McGeorge replied: “Angry, because I had reported Resident A being hurt by a carer she didn’t believe me.


“The next day Donna Murray saw me taking Resident A into the bedroom and asked what happened to her arm.

“I said exactly what had happened.”

Miss McGeorge, also told how a week later she mentioned the incident to her mother, Anne Jardine, who was associate director of the care home, after she felt nothing had been done.

She said: “I told her I had reported it to Fiona and Donna and felt nothing had been done.

“I would think that Andrea should have been suspended.”


In her defence Mrs Murray said that the term ‘abuse’ had never been used, and that she had been exhausted from working day and night to cover staff shortages.

However she did admit that she was slow to carry out the investigation and didn’t look for a report of the incident until later.

Mrs Murray said: “It should have been documented in the client’s care plan and accordingly documented.

“I didn’t look until later, when I started my investigation.

“I should have done, but assumed that the senior carer had done.


“On the 18th I received a phone call from Anne Jardine, asking what I had done about the lady with the bruised arm.

“I was surprised. The incident reported to me was an accident. I was concerned with her tone.

“And I was concerned that it may be abuse. It was the first I’d heard of it.”

When asked what she would normally do in that situation Mrs Murray replied: “I would immediately start an investigation and spoke to two members of staff by telephone.”


Mrs Murray admitted that it was three days before she suspended the carer responsible and separated her from the resident who was attacked – going against the council’s code of conduct – and alerting the police.

And she also admitted that it was four days before she alerted the Care Commission and Social Services to the incident.

When asked if she knew of any timescale on how quickly she should acted on the alleged assault, she replied: “I’m not sure of any, just react swiftly and promptly.

“I feel as if I did, but things should probably have been more swift.”

The tribunal continues.

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