A coroner criticised social services over their failure to act with sufficient urgency during an inquest into the death of a 91-year-old woman.
Sheila Barker, a retired secretary and mother of two daughters, suffered for months with agonising pressure sores on both heels and elsewhere on her body.
A four-day inquest at Bradford Coroner’s Court heard that problems developed after she suffered a fall and a fracture of a thighbone in the autumn of 2011.
This led to a lack of mobility with pressure sores developing on her heels in March 2012 and later on her buttocks and back – a source of major concern. She died on August 10, 2013.
A post mortem found Mrs Barker died from sepsis due to large necrotic pressure sores with ischemic heart disease a contributory factor.
In her summing up Assistant Coroner Mary Burke said: “I am very concerned indeed that two months after the request had been made by nurses and Sheila’s family for a nursing review it took two months for a social worker to be allocated.”
However, after hearing expert evidence from Dr Peter Kroker she said: “I don’t think that has made a difference in Sheila’s case.”
But she added: “I am concerned although I have heard that changes have been put in place to speed the process up.
“Due to staffing levels there can still be a significant time period for a request for a review and allocation of a social worker and I intend to make a Regulation 28 request,” (a letter to Kirklees Social Services effectively telling them that their procedures are not up to scratch).
“It has not made a difference in Sheila’s case but it may make a difference in other cases.”
Despite the criticism she went on to return a narrative conclusion saying: “Sheila had a number of significant health issues which predisposed her to development of such sores and despite preventative measures being put in place supported by other healthcare professionals it was not possible to stem the development of pressure sores which led to her death.”
Afterwards, her two daughters, Susan Scarlett, of Fenay Bridge and Jean Eastwood of Chapeltown, Sheffield, said Sheila had “been a great mum who loved dancing to Glenn Miller and Frank Sinatra.”
Jean added: “I am very pleased on Regulation 28. We had a colossal tidal wave of hard work with these people which added to a very difficult time for us.”