Staff at mental health trust that treated Nottingham killer Valdo Calocane 'falsified records and assaulted patients'

1 March 2024, 00:18

The trust where Valdo Calocane was treated has been rated inadequate
The trust where Valdo Calocane was treated has been rated inadequate. Picture: Nottinghamshire Police/Google Maps

By Luke Shannahan and Kit Heren

Some staff falsified records and assaulted patients at the NHS Trust which handled the mental health care of Nottingham attacks killer Valdo Calocane, the watchdog has said.

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In inspections published today, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has given inadequate ratings to Nottinghamshire's acute wards for adults and psychiatric intensive care units along with wards for older people with mental health problems.

The inspections were carried out in October and November 2023 after the watchdog received "information giving us concerns about the safety and quality of the services."

Other findings made by the CQC included patients' sedative medication being administered against medical advice and prescribed dosages, missing signatures on the administration of medicines and staff not raising concerns or reporting near misses.

Highbury Hospital, where 32-year-old Calocane received treatment for severe paranoid schizophrenia, was looked at as part of both inspections.

Read more: Nottingham triple-killer Valdo Calocane to have sentence reviewed for being 'unduly lenient'

Read more: Police officer who viewed bodycam footage of Barnaby Webber dying in street after Nottingham attack sacked

Valdo Calocane
Valdo Calocane. Picture: Met Police

Calocane stabbed 19-year-old University of Nottingham students Grace O'Malley Kumar and Barnaby Webber to death as they walked home from a night out on Ilkeston Road on 13 June 2023, before killing 65-year-old school caretaker Ian Coates in the same fashion on Mapperley Road later that morning.

Calocane is now serving an indefinite hospital order after admitting diminished responsibility manslaughter and attempted murder.

The CQC found an example of staff falsifying observation records, following "past serious incidents" at Highbury.

One patient at the hospital had been assessed as requiring observations every 10-minutes due to a risk of harm to themselves, but CCTV showed there were two occasions where staff only pretended to check on the patient and another where they altered the timing of the observation record by 30-minutes.

Review to be ordered into Nottingham attacker’s manslaughter conviction

Dr Sanjoy Kumar, father of Grace, called the findings "alarming".

He told LBC that the report's findings of over-reliance on agency staff because of a lack of permanent workers was particularly worrying. "Staff only leave if they're unhappy or they think a unit is going downhill," he said.

Emma Webber, the mother of 19-year-old student Barnaby Webber who was Calocane's first victim, said that the families "are already aware that there were huge failures by both the Nottingham Mental Health Trust as well as the Police Force in detaining and treating Calocane, failures that have cost our precious son his life.

"Sadly the negative CQC report released on the Health Trust as a whole does not come as a surprise to us.

Candid interview with brother of Nottingham victim Grace O'Malley-Kumar

"It is clear that there needs to be urgent, considerable and immediate improvements across the multi agencies that serve the people of Nottingham to protect their health and safety.”

Managers were made aware of these concerns and acted on them immediately.

The CQC also found leaders "did not always have the skills, knowledge and experience to perform their roles" and rated leadership at the service as inadequate.

The trust has responded with an action plan to mitigate the risks of the findings and the watchdog says it was assured by the response.

In a statement, the chief executive of Nottinghamshire Healthcare, Ifti Majid, said "I apologise unreservedly that we have let down patients...

"I recognise that we have to do better, to make changes in the way we deliver care so we can help those who need us and reassure the public of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire that it is a good thing to seek care and support from us."

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