Sutton Council cleared of blame in report into death of starved pensioner Gloria Foster
A report investigating the death of a Surrey pensioner who was left to starve for nine days said Sutton Council "can not be faulted" in its actions.
Banstead widow Gloria Foster, 81, was left to starve for more than a week after the Sutton-based care agency contracted to look after her by Surrey County Council, Carefirst 24, was shut down by immigration police on January 15.
Lists of Carefirst 24's clients were seized by police prior to the raid on Carefirst 24's Upper Mulgrave Road office and Sutton Council convened a meeting to make sure it and Surrey County Council, the two authorities that used the agency, could make arrangements for alternative care.
The raid on Carefirst 24
Mrs Foster slipped through the net and was discovered in her home on January 24 - nine days after the raid - severely dehydrated on a bed soaked with urine and faeces.
She was taken to hospital where she died on February 4.
The incident triggered a serious case review from the Surrey Safeguarding Adults board and the resulting report was published on Monday.
The report details how the list of clients was given to Sutton and Surrey Councils prior to the raid and confirms Mrs Foster's name was on it.
It says a further "poorly attended" meeting was held on January 24. The Surrey Council representative did not attend but sent a message saying all its clients were accounted for. Mrs Foster was found the following day.
The council worker charged with making sure Mrs Foster was looked after made a record claiming to have called the vulnerable pensioner the day after the raid only to get no answer.
Gloria Foster's good friend Ann Penston
The subsequent police investigation revealed no such call was made.
As a result of the report, which lists a series of failings from Surrey County Council but says they were "not intentional or deliberate", two council workers have been suspended.
The report clears Sutton Council of blame and says it "cannot be faulted" although it does say there were warning signs about Carefirst 24 that, in hindsight, could have prompted earlier action.
Ann Penston, from Sutton, a close friend of Mrs Foster, said: "It's very clear what went wrong - it was human error and Surrey Country Council has admitted that now even if they took months and months to do it.
"I suppose today, after reading it, I feel relieved that something has come out of it. Months have gone by while I have just been thinking 'what could have happened?'."
Six people were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences during the raid on Carefirst 24. They have all been bailed until various dates in November.
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