Brothers fined over 'depressing, unsafe' Liverpool care home

Helen Pidd North of England editor
Amjad Latif leaving Liverpool crown court where he and his brother Amer were fined. Amer did not attend court. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Two brothers have been fined more than £82,000 after their “depressing, unhygienic and unsafe” care home was shut down by inspectors.

Amjad Latif, 56, and his younger brother Amer, 47, ran the Mossley Manor care home in Liverpool until June 2015 when a new resident’s daughter was so appalled by conditions that she took her mother home after two hours and complained to the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

CQC inspectors gagged at the smell in some residents’ rooms when they made a surprise inspection, Liverpool magistrates court heard on Monday. The inspectors found elderly people who had not bathed properly for four weeks and had not been washed in days.

One man with Parkinson’s disease was taken to hospital with aspiration pneumonia after choking because carers kept giving him food he could not swallow. His need to be fed mashed food and have his head held up while drinking had not been properly recorded on his care plan, the court heard.

Sentencing the brothers on Monday after the CQC brought a case against them, a district judge branded Mossley Manor “a lack-of-care home, not a care home”.

Judge Andrew Shaw told the court he was shocked by the harrowing conditions suffered by some of the 43 elderly residents living there when it was closed. The Latif brothers had betrayed their vulnerable clients, he said.

Fees at the home started at £1,000 a month for council-funded residents, with private residents charged almost twice that.

A shortage of hot water meant that staff regularly had to boil pots of water in the kitchen in order to do the washing up or the most cursory bed baths. One resident showed inspectors the bathroom near their bedroom where there was no running water in the sink, a blocked toilet and no plug for the bath.

Some communal toilets were without soap, towels or plastic bags in the bins, with used incontinence pads left around residents’ rooms.

One bedroom window was broken in three places and the cracks had been taped over. It was also jammed open, leaving a 5cm gap that the resident tried to block with socks to keep warm.

A blind woman who fell 14 times in a year was told to press an alarm she could not see if she got into difficulty, said Jenny Ashworth, prosecuting, who branded the home “depressing, unhygienic and unsafe”.

In one of the most shocking observations in the CQC’s 16-page report, inspectors wrote: “We went into some people’s bedrooms and were shocked at the terrible smell and state of their rooms. On two occasions we had to leave the rooms as the smell of stale urine and body odour was overpowering.

“In one of these rooms a person was lying in bed at lunchtime. This person had incontinence issues and required incontinence aids. The records showed that this person had not had a bath or a shower in the four weeks prior to the inspection and had not had a wash for five days.

“We asked a member of the care staff why this person was in bed and they told us that they thought that the person was depressed as they kept saying that they wanted to die. We could not see that any appropriate action had been taken to support this person.”

The substantial Victorian property is part of an estate currently on the market for £2.5m. The elder Latif brother lives in a £1m house in Bowdon, Cheshire, while his younger sibling lives in a £1.2m gated house on a tree-lined street in Woolton, south Liverpool.

The brothers admitted at an earlier hearing that they had failed to notify authorities about the deaths of 10 residents at the home, failed to inform the CQC of three serious incidents, failed to provide safe care and exposed residents to “significant” risk and harm.

They pleaded guilty to 14 charges in all, between 14 April and June 2015.

Fining the brothers £82,429.72, the judge said he had been affected by reading the case papers. “It was a distressing experience and emotionally I felt both a degree of incredulity and anger that the residents in this home were so betrayed by the individuals paid to look after them and deriving a considerable amount for doing so,” Shaw told Amjad Latif, the only brother to attend court.

Latif’s lawyer, Kevin Donnelly, said his client was an educated man with many business interests who had inherited the business from his late father. He wrongly assumed the care home would run itself, Donnelly said. He was remorseful “and accepts that these failures were wide-ranging and significant”.

Amjad declined to talk to reporters outside court, saying: “There’s nothing left to say.”

But one couple whose mothers were both at Mossley Manor, paying £450 a week for private care, said the tough fine should be a deterrent.

“Let this be a lesson to other care home owners that you have got to follow the guidelines of the CQC otherwise they will close you down,” said the husband, whose mother was 91 when she had to leave the home and move to another with just four days’ notice after the CQC shut it down.

He said he was shocked and disgusted to hear how bad conditions had become. “It must have mostly been happening behind closed doors because our mothers were quite well looked after – but we were in almost every day to check on them,” he said. “Perhaps it was the others who didn’t receive any visitors. It was horrendous to hear what was going on.”

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