Published by BBC NEWS - 10th July 2023
  • Published
Cardiff Magistrates' Court

A care worker was bitten “through to the bone” by an inpatient at a mental health unit, a court heard.

Seven members of staff and one inpatient were injured over a three year period at the Priory Hospital in Aberdare.

It cared for people with learning disabilities, mental health and behavioural issues, and closed in 2017.

The providers have pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court.

The independent Priory Hospital was a specialist institution which cared for up to 12 patients.

The court heard that in a “series of incidents” between 2014 and 2017 care workers were assaulted or put at risk.

The incidents included staff being provided with jackets that did not properly protect them from bite injuries, and malfunctioning personal safety alarms.

Care workers bitten

Prosecutor Andrew McGee, acting for the Health and Safety Executive, said despite wearing a bite jacket one female care worker who was attacked was left with “a bite on her shoulder that went through to the bone”.

The court heard a male worker had to have two skin grafts on his forearm after being bitten.

A second female staff member’s help alarm failed when she was grabbed by a patient.

“She was struggling with the patient for between 10 and 20 minutes trying to dislodge his bite,” Mr McGee said.

A third female health worker was knocked unconscious by an inpatient, and told the court in a statement she now suffers with tinnitus and lost hearing in her right ear, meaning she now needs a hearing aid.

She said her social life had “significantly reduced as a result of her injury”.

‘Regret and concern’ over failures

Parkcare Homes (No.2) Limited and Priory Central Services Limited pleaded guilty to failing to manage risks to care staff and patients from violence and aggression.

The companies operate under the same umbrella, with Parkcare Homes managing the day-to-day running of the home and Priory Central Services managing a number of centralised services.

Sandesh Singh, representing Parkcare Homes, said the company had apologised and “sincerely regrets the offences committed”.

Priory Central Services said it wanted to express “regret and concern about the failures in this case.”

The hearing continues.




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