Thursday 18 October 2018
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Retired miner who wanted to die at home was 'deprived of liberty'

A retired miner was denied the right to die at home because five organisations failed him, an investigation has found.

The 77-year-old man, who had Alzheimer's disease and diabetes, was moved into a care home in January 2009.

He told carers he wanted to go home to Sheffield where he had lived with his brother, but he died in a different care home in December that year.

A report concluded the man, known as RK, was "deprived of his liberty for the last 10 months of his life".

RK has shared a home with his brother, known as TK, all his life, but was moved into Eckington Court Nursing Home as a temporary measure on 22 January 2009 when he was found to be diabetic.

Despite repeated requests to return home, he was moved to Chesterfield's Calow Hospital in March and then to April Park care home in May, where he died on 12 December 2009.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and Local Government Ombudsman's joint investigation found his wishes were not dealt with properly by Moss Valley Medical Practice, Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Derbyshire County Council, Sheffield City Council and the now-defunct PCT NHS Derbyshire County.
'Not their decision'

TK said: "Part of my life has now been taken away... I'm left wondering what else I could have done.

"I complied with all agencies involved and never stopped the fight to try and get my brother home."

The investigation found that health and social care professionals had "genuine concerns that [RK's] health would suffer if he returned to the family home".

But, the report said, "whether or not RK went home was not their decision to make", according to the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards which came into force on 1 April 2009.

Each organisation has been ordered to pay TK £200 - "in recognition of the injustice" - and to send him a written apology.

Moss Valley Medical Practice, where RK attended, told the ombudsmen they had since improved their links with social services and care homes and clinicians had received training.

A Sheffield City Council spokeswoman said: "We are sorry for our part in Mr RK being denied the opportunity to return home and for the effect it had on him.

"The service has moved on significantly since 2009 in the practical application of the safeguards and a detailed review of our practices has been given the highest priority."