A social worker has been sacked after ignoring a 12-year-old boy's desperate plea of "help me" scrawled outside his bedroom and other signs of neglect which led to his blindness at his filth-ridden home.
Stockton social services and James Cook University Hospital in Middlesborough are at the centre of an investigation after making a catalogue of errors which prevented the boy from attending medical appointments which could have saved the sight in his left eye.
The failings highlighted today (4 August) in a Serious Case Review report include taking agencies nearly two years for the boy and his two-year-old sister from first being referred by a hospital consultant to be taken into care, and health visitors and social workers did not inspect the children's bedroom. The wall of the boy's bedroom was reportedly smeared with faeces and there were bin bags full of dirty nappies and rotting food.
The independent chairman of the Stockton-on-Tees Local Safeguarding Children Board, Colin Morris, told the GazetteLive: "There were too many missed opportunities, there should have been better communication – the public has the right to expect better.
"This is bread and butter stuff, you expect all professionals operating in this field to communicate effectively."
The children's parents were jailed in 2014 after both pleaded guilty to two charges each of child neglect.
The boy is now "happy and settled" living with extended family however his sight will never fully recover.
Ruth Holt, director of nursing at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, told the newspaper: "Systems and procedures that were in place for children who fail to attend hospital appointments have been reviewed and these will be embedded in every area across the organisation where children are seen.
"We were deeply saddened and shocked by what happened to this child who clearly suffered harm which could have been avoided had he been brought in for the treatment that had been offered by the trust," she added.