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Probe after man’s body not found for 24 hours

By The Citizen  |  Posted: May 12, 2014

Stroud District Council has launched an internal investigation following the death of Michael Maxwell, who lived at Grange View

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OFFICIALS have launched an investigation after a delay in discovering that a sheltered housing resident had died.

Michael Maxwell, who lived at Grange View in Uplands, Stroud, confirmed he was okay on Sunday May 4.

But no-one from Stroud District Council checked on him when he did not call the council’s OKEachDay service by pressing a button linked to a phone line in a two-hour window the following day.

It meant a delay of around 24 hours until his body was discovered on the Tuesday.

John Hatton, chairman of the United Sheltered Accommodation Panel, claimed under the old system of resident wardens the delay would not have happened.

“Over the past four years, the district council has dismantled the system under which every scheme had a warden who lived on the premises,” he said. “Had this still been in place, Mr Maxwell’s body would have been found long before it was.”

He urged the council to suspend plans to reduce the number of qualified support housing staff to cover its housing schemes until a full independent inquiry has established what went wrong.

The coroner confirmed there will be no inquest because Mr Maxwell, who was believed to be in his late 60s, died of natural causes. A spokesman for Stroud District Council said: “We understand the coroner has ruled that Mr Maxwell died of natural causes on the Sunday.

“Notwithstanding this, when we didn’t receive a response to our scheduled welfare call on Monday, our welfare check process was triggered but, unfortunately, something subsequently went wrong with our internal procedures. This meant we didn’t visit his home until the next morning.

“We’re sorry for and concerned about this unacceptable 24-hour delay and have launched an internal investigation.

“Mr Hatton has alleged the reduction in staffing in recent years contributed to the delay. We would like to reassure our residents that this is not the case. The telephone service provides a welfare check every day, including weekends and bank holidays, rather than just during the working week which was the system when we had live-in wardens.”

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