AN admin worker has told an inquest she was asked to destroy vital medical records to prevent a care home being shut down.
Lisa Martin said she was told by her manager Meera Reed to shred documents that were about to be taken to hospital with an elderly resident who had been given the wrong dose of medication.
The 77-year-old woman, Jean Halfpenny, died shortly afterwards.
The alarming incident is one of several alleged to have taken place at Orchid View, in Borers Arms Road, Copthorne, in the months before it was shut down in October 2011.
Giving evidence at the three-week inquest into 19 deaths at the home, administrator Miss Martin said she stepped in on a number of occasions to help out around the establishment, despite not having the qualifications to do so.
She said: “When staff called in sick, we weren’t allowed to use agencies to get replacements in. We had a budget to stick to. I had to go in one weekend to cook a roast dinner. I felt I had to do it because there was no chef and I couldn’t get hold of anyone to cover.”
Police were called in to investigate reports of ill-treatment and neglect following the death of Mrs Halfpenny, who was given four times her usual dose of medicine, in 2010.