UK

Care home boss lied about being by man’s side when he died, Covid Inquiry told

The Scottish Covid-19 inquiry has been taking evidence this week (Ian West/PA)
The Scottish Covid-19 inquiry has been taking evidence this week (Ian West/PA) The Scottish Covid-19 inquiry has been taking evidence this week (Ian West/PA)

A care home manager allegedly lied to a man, stating he was with his father when he died, the Scottish Covid Inquiry has heard.

William Jolly, of Scottish Covid Bereaved, told the inquiry the manager informed him via a phone call that his father, who was 88, died “quietly and peacefully” and was by his side – only to admit when challenged he had fabricated the truth and was in fact not present.

Mr Jolly, who lost his mother just five months after his father, told the inquiry his father was found dead by care home staff at around 1am on April 26 2020.

A GP later pronounced him dead at 4am on the same date but Mr Jolly says he was not informed of his father’s passing until 8am.

Scottish Covid-19 public inquiry
Scottish Covid-19 public inquiry The inquiry is taking place before Lord Brailsford (Andrew Milligan/PA)

He described the phone call with the care home manager as “very disturbing” as he allegedly told Mr Jolly he had “been with him at the end”.

Mr Jolly said he immediately queried the manager’s claim.

He told the inquiry: “I said, ‘but you weren’t there unless you were called out, because my father died at one o’clock in the morning’.

“They said he died at one o’clock and he was pronounced dead at four o’clock. I was told at eight o’clock.

“The care home manager told me that he said he’d been with him because he thought it would make me feel better and I said, ‘well, it’s actually made me a lot worse’, because it was a lie and it was a significant lie.

“It undermined a lot of things. What I’ve got here is, how can you possibly say to somebody that you were sitting with their dad when they passed away peacefully when you weren’t even there?”

His cause of death was officially written down as Covid but Mr Jolly and his family are not sure whether that is the case.

He tested positive for the illness while receiving treatment at hospital for a “serious” head injury after a fall at the care home.

Despite still being ill with the virus, he was discharged and sent back to the care home where staff initially intended to place him back into the room he shared with his wife.

When Mr Jolly protested and asked for his father to be isolated away from his mother, he says he was told his mother has “probably got Covid anyway”.

He told the inquiry: “I pleaded with [the care home manager] not to do it.

“I just thought it was insane. I mean, I was worried not only about my dad, but my mother.

“The assumption was that they would put my father back in with my mother on the assumption that, well, the care home manager actually said to me, ‘your mother’s probably got covid anyway’.”

The care home eventually agreed to isolate the father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, after Mr Jolly had to “force the hand” of the manager.

The inquiry, taking place in Edinburgh before Lord Brailsford, continues.