‘It’s a cruel place’ - ex-footballer’s family describe the ‘neglect’ at Julian Hospital
PUBLISHED: 07:33 17 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:06 20 October 2017
The family of a former Liverpool footballer have called for an inquiry after he died in a Norfolk mental health hospital.
Frank Lockey, 84, was found dead in his room on August 24, at the Julian Hospital in Norwich.
His family have alleged he was “neglected” by staff at the dedicated mental health facility and have called for an inquiry.
He was admitted on February 7, suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Mr Lockey’s wife Margaret, and daughter Tina, say he was neglected while under the care of staff at the hospital.
A spokesperson for the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) said a new manager was appointed in May after concerns were raised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Mr Lockey’s family said he suffered a number of unexplained injuries while in the dedicated mental health facility.
His family described a litany of issues with the care he received, including being over medicated and in a “zombie-like” state, the wards being dirty and unhygienic, and Mr Lockey’s discarded pills found on the floor of his room.
His daughter, Tina Lockey, 48, said: “I was in there every two days because I didn’t feel he was being cared for.
“He was neglected, 100pc, he was neglected. They didn’t write down in their care plans or their skin inspection sheets.”
She said: “The neglect was daily. The ward was always dirty, they were told to wear nappies, even though they were continent.
“My dad would not wear one of them, he was a dignified man. But they just made him – and all the patients wear nappies.”
Miss Lockey, and her mother, Margaret, began attending carers meetings at the hospital. They said the families of other patients had similar concerns to theirs.
Miss Lockey said: “There was never an answer. Falls, and dressing concerns, were never followed up. Incidents were unseen, and falls were unseen.”
Mrs Lockey added: “We didn’t know what happened at night, because we were never there. He was always scared, and frightened. We used to say ‘are they hurting you?’ and he would say ‘yes’.”
She added: “They had no compassion.”
Miss Lockey said: “I didn’t feel safe leaving him there. Every day I came home and cried. He was ‘zonked’ on medication, and often wouldn’t remember we’d been in.”
She said: “We have written to everyone possible. I’ve put in four serious complaints about undignified and degrading treatments, unexplained injuries, and unlawful restraint.”
Mrs Lockey said: “I’ve never been, but it was worse in there than it would be in a prison. It’s a cruel, cruel place to be in if you’re a patient. We often wanted to bring him home but we were not allowed because he was sectioned due to his mental health, because of the dementia.”
NSFT said: “We cannot discuss individual cases due to patient confidentiality, particularly when they are the subject of an ongoing complaint or upcoming inquest.
“The trust has been in contact with the service user’s family on a regular basis and we are happy to meet with them further, should they wish to discuss their concerns.
“Immediately following a CQC spot inspection at Hammerton Court, in May, a new manager took up their post and initiated a complete turnaround in staff leadership on Reed Ward. Any concerns raised by the CQC at that time were immediately addressed.
“Hammerton Court works with patients with dementia who are at the most unwell end of the spectrum and who need to come into the unit for short term stabilisation if they are in mental health crisis or distress and agitation.
“At times, people with these forms of dementia can self-harm or even hit out at others through fear and confusion. When this occurs they can then sustain minor injuries. This can be exacerbated if they are on forms of medication which leads to easy bruising, such as blood thinning agents.
“For patients who are undergoing extreme agitation, fear or distress some medications are prescribed to alleviate these symptoms, to make them more comfortable and to keep them safe.
“Although we cannot discuss individual cases, in general people with advanced forms of dementia, such as Alzheimers, can sadly become incontinent. For the sake of their own cleanliness and to maintain their dignity, they may need to wear incontinence underwear.”
In December 2016 NSFT was fined £366,000 for health and safety failings after dementia patent Joan Darnell, 78, drowned in a bath at Julian Hospital in 2014.
The family said they wish they had kept Mr Lockey at home and cared from him there, describing him as stubborn, and strong, with a wicked sense of humour.
Mrs Lockey said: “He used to love sitting out in the garden.”
Miss Lockey added: “He played for many, many teams, Kings Lynn, Swindon Town. He loved his football.”
Mr Lockey was originally from Scotland, and Mrs Lockey is from Lincolnshire. The couple moved to Norfolk in the 1980s, to be closer to their daughter.
The cause of Mr Lockey’s death was given as dementia and heart disease, which his family have disputed.
An inquest into his death will take place in February.
Mrs Lockey said: “I just want justice for Frank and for the other patients. I want something done about that hospital.”