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Carer Susan McIntosh avoids jail after admitting neglecting 13 elderly people in Harrietsham care home

By Alan Smith

A carer who admitted ill treatment or wilful neglect of 13 residents at a Harrietsham care home has avoided prison.

Susan McIntosh was head of care at the Chippendayle Lodge Residential Home in Harrietsham when the offences took place in November, 2017.

Maidstone Magistrates heard today that she had been in charge of issuing medications to the 40 or so residents in the home.

A fellow worker became suspicious after finding a sealed bag of tablets in a waste bin. She checked the nursing records and found that McIntosh had signed patient records to say that the medication had been administered.

Susan McIntosh
Susan McIntosh

Her colleague then called on another carer and together they searched other waste bags only to find more patient tablets, all of which McIntosh had signed as having been given to the residents.

Mark Kateley, prosecuting, said it was only good fortune that none of the elderly residents had suffered any lasting harm as a result.

McIntosh, 53, had pleaded guilty to all 13 charges at an earlier hearing, but defending, Hugh Roberts, said McIntosh acknowledged that she was responsible for administering the medication and that she had signed the logs to say that she had done so, but she did no accept that she had done that to deliberately cover up the fact that the medications had not been given.

He said it was sometimes the case that the residents would not accept their medicine or were asleep when it was being administered, in which case the records should have been noted 'refused.'

"She's very, very sorry for what happened and it's a sad way for it all to come to an end..." David Fox

But he said McIntosh had been working incredibly long hours because the home had been short staffed.

He said in addition she had been dealing with a lot of stress in her personal life because her partner had developed brain cancer and was needing treatment in hospital.

He was now at home and required daily assistance from her.

Mr Roberts said: "She got herself into a pickle. She didn't set out to harm anyone. The issue is that she failed to complete the paperwork correctly."

The chairman of the bench Sheila Potipher, told McIntosh: "This is a very serious matter - fortunately no-one was harmed.

"We understand that you were under a great deal of stress, but nevertheless we feel this is an offence that warrants a custodial sentence, which we are going to suspend."

McIntosh of Park Terrace in Throwley Fostal, near Faversham, was sentenced to 120 days in custody for each offence, to run concurrently, suspended for 18 months.

Susan McIntosh leaving court
Susan McIntosh leaving court

She was also given a community service order with two requirements: that she attend up to 30 sessions of rehabilitation activities, to be arranged by the probation service, and that she complete 80 hours of unpaid community work.

She must also pay £85 costs and £115 victim surcharge, within 28 days.

Leaving court, McIntosh said: "I'm happy about the outcome, but it's the circumstances that it all happened."

Walking with crutches, her partner David Fox said: "She's very, very sorry for what happened and it's a sad way for it all to come to an end."

McIntosh no longer works for the care home.

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