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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 March 2008, 14:39 GMT
Care inquiry over 'fake' notes
Elderly person's hands
Carers were unaware their patient was in hospital, it is claimed
A care firm has started disciplinary procedures against staff members for alleged neglect of duty in their care of an 83-year-old Exmouth woman.

Wilhelmina Dart had a stroke and was taken to hospital, but a private care firm paid to look after her did not notice, her family claims.

Carers have been accused of faking notes to show they checked the woman when she was in fact in hospital.

Devon County Council, which employs firm 1st React, has started an inquiry.

Mrs Dart's family said that 1st React's staff carried on visiting for more than a week after the pensioner went to hospital and two different carers wrote entries in a log book saying they had seen her three times.

'Had a chat'

One entry written six days after the widow was taken to hospital read:"Mrs Dart in bed on arrival. Fed + watered cat. Took cup of tea up to Mrs Dart, said she was staying in bed.

"Stayed and had a chat - didn't want anything done. All OK."

Mrs Dart's daughter Patricia Handford, aged 56, has complained to the police.

A spokesman for Devon County Council said:"We are taking this matter extremely seriously.

"If there is evidence of improper practice or of the quality of care and professionalism being compromised, then we will immediately review our contract with the care provider."

A spokesman for Exmouth-based 1st React said:"We are a reputable and responsible agency which has been providing a high level of care for 16 years.

"We take all complaints seriously and are fully cooperating with Social Services and the police in their investigation.

"We regret any upset caused to Mrs Dart's family by the actions of our community care workers and it should be noted we were not informed of her admission to hospital.

"Her admission is not related to the care provided by our agency.

"We are currently in the process of conducting disciplinary procedures in compliance with employment laws and we are seeking further advice regarding this regrettable incident."

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