Vulnerable adults are being failed by those who are meant to protect them (2 June 2011)

Last week I published a blog specifically about the horrific care that many vulnerable elderly people are receiving in this country.  I was horrified and shocked at many reports that came out highlighting the poor care elderly people are receiving in establishments that are there to look after them.

This week I watched Panorama and their reporter Joe Casey as he went undercover at Winterbourne View, a private hospital for vulnerable adults ran by Castlebeck Care, and uncovered horrific physical and mental torture being administered to vulnerable adults by a group of what can only be called bullies and torturers. 

Their focus seemed to be two or three of the people in their care.  They verbally abused them, physically abused them and tortured them.  I won’t go into graphic detail, the programme is available on BBC iPlayer.

What is equally horrifying about this is that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) were aware of allegations of abuse at the hospital…and they did nothing about it.  Well, that might be a little harsh.  What they did was assume that it was being taken of.  They were aware that the whistle had been blown but assumed that it was all in hand.  In their response to the Panorama programme the CQC wrote:

However, we recognise that had we contacted the whistleblower ourselves directly after we received the email we would have been alerted to the seriousness of the situation and moved swiftly to inspect the hospital.
We have spoken to the former member staff, apologised for not contacting him earlier and offered to discuss his concerns.

It’s just not acceptable in this day and age that a regulatory body is so blasé about allegations of abuse.  It’s not acceptable in this day and age that vulnerable people are treated in this most horrific way.  These horrors belong to the past and, while they should never have existed in the past, they should certainly not be evident in today’s society.

Castlebeck Care suspended 13 of their staff and following the programme three men and one woman were arrested as part of a police investigation.  

It’s no easy decision to move a relative into specialist care and for many there are feelings of guilt at being unable to look after their relatives.  They are placing their absolute trust in the managers, nurses and carers in homes up and down the country and every time something like this happens their trust is diminished just a little bit and a tiny bit of doubt creeps in.
There is absolutely no doubt that this must be investigated immediately and not only should Castlebeck Care come under scrutiny but the CQC should too.  Vulnerable people must be protected.

I would also like to give credit to the good people out there who enhance the lives of the people in their care.  It’s not all bad and on that I can speak from experience.