'The parents of a seriously ill baby were unable to spend quality time with their child in his last few weeks of life, because City of York social workers did not review his case properly, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has said.
Social workers placed strict supervision arrangements on the parents after injuries were discovered when the parents took their baby to hospital with breathing difficulties. The parents told social workers, and the doctor treating their son, the injuries could have been caused by previous hospital treatment.
As a result of this decision, the parents’ two other children had to be cared for by grandparents, while the parents had to be supervised at all times when visiting the baby in hospital. Even when the baby’s condition deteriorated, social workers did not relax the restrictions, despite numerous requests. Some days the parents could only spend four hours with their son. And on one day, lack of supervision meant they were not able to visit him at all.
The baby died nine weeks after his admission to hospital.
A month after the baby died, a court relaxed the supervision arrangements with the couple’s other children. And at a final hearing 11 weeks later, the court criticised the council’s handling of the case, stating the council had decided the fractures ‘cannot have been attributed to parental care’.
The Ombudsman’s investigation found the council should have reviewed the supervision arrangements or offered third party services to provide supervision in hospital. It also failed to visit the baby in hospital and the care plan drawn up did not consider the baby’s emotional needs.
The report also criticises the council’s response to the family’s complaint, which took more than 270 days too long to complete.'
Read more: Social workers denied parents time with dying baby, says Ombudsman
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