THE chief executive of Luton Borough Council has described an incident in which an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s was left locked in a minbus overnight as “appalling”.
Trevor Holden said the council deeply regretted the distress caused to the woman and her family, adding: “We are deeply shocked that something has gone so seriously wrong.”
The woman, who is in her 80s, was left on the council minibus at the Kingsway depot on Monday night at 5.30pm, and was not discovered until 7am the following morning.
She had been collected from Hockwell Ring Day Centre and should have been dropped at her sheltered accommodation at Jill Jenkins Court in Whipperley Ring, Farley Hill.
The alarm was raised on Tuesday morning when Westminster Homecare went into the woman’s home to provide care commissioned by the council and realised she was missing.
A member of council staff has been suspended, and an adult safeguarding investigation, being led by Bedfordshire Police, is now underway into how the incident occurred.
Mr Holden said: “Senior officers from the council met with our client’s family as soon as possible on Tuesday to make sure everything is being done for her continued welfare and to express how very, very sorry we are that this appalling incident took place.
“We will do everything we can to find out exactly what took place and ensure it cannot happen again.”
A council spokesperson said that following the incident the authority had put a temporary procedure in place to ensure every passenger transport vehicle is checked before the end of each day, and that this would remain in force until further notice.