Care home whistleblowers increasing

More than 4,300 whistleblowers have come forward in the past 16 months to complain about the treatment of elderly and disabled people in care.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) – which regulates care homes and hospitals in England – said some of the complaints concerned care home residents being physically assaulted.

Complaints rose from 22 a month in December 2010 to 556 in March 2012.

The CQC said whistleblowers included relatives and staff.

The commission said that among the issues raised were members of staff assaulting residents, refusing to take residents to the toilet, shouting at elderly and disabled patients and failing to respond to call bells.

There were also complaints about levels of staffing.

Amanda Sherlock, from the CQC, said the increase was partly linked to greater awareness following a BBC Panorama programme which exposed the abuse of patients at Winterbourne View private hospital near Bristol.

Chris Skidmore, a Conservative MP on the House of Commons Health Committee, obtained the information about the rise in complaints using a Freedom of Information request.

He told the Times newspaper the figures were “alarming… suggesting that beneath the surface the scandal of poor quality care is still highly relevant.”

Gary FitzGerald, chief executive of Action on Elder Abuse, told the Times low-level incidents could develop into serious abuse.

He said even walking into a resident’s room before knocking could escalate: “Next it may be not closing the door when someone is on the toilet.”

Mr FitzGerald claimed politicians had failed to stop the decline in standards of dignity for the elderly: “Labour started this degradation and the coalition has simply made it worse.”

0 Responses to Care home whistleblowers increasing

  1. marina harrigan says:

    I have been a care assistant for 12 years now. A major problem is staffing issues-not enough staff on shift. Of course lack of staff in no way excuses abuse but it contributes to poor care. Another problem is the wages. Most care jobs only pay minimum wage for a job that is difficult and demanding and I think that some care staff are not bothered giving quality care if they are not paid enough. Increasingly service users who were previously placed in EMI units are now being placed in “dementia registered” nursing homes. This is nothing but a chance to save money by the government. Staff are ofter ill equipped to deal with violent and aggressive service users. Before anyone contemplates a job in care, bear in mind that you will be over worked, underpaid and often abused by aggressive and violent service users. (the sad effects of dementia) If you can”t cope, don”t do the job! Some staff like myself try hard to give quality care. But the simple fact is while the law remains as it is, stating that there only needs to be a certain amount of staff on, then quality care will be difficult to achieve. God help me if I ever need to go into a nursing home. WE NEED MORE STAFF NOW!

  2. Samantha Allman says:

    Hi Marina, I really do sympaphise with not enought staff on shifts. having worked in Care for 23 years staffing and pay not been looked properley in regards to sickness levels risk assessments for custombers who live in Care enviroments and the change in awareness (it’s not the 1960’s)…. just in numbers for example 16 customers 3 Health Care Assistants.. 5 need 2 care assistants at all times , one could be sexually disinhibited, 6 at risk of falls, 3 smoking risks Fortunatly I am a Manager now looking at the risks needs and the fact that this really needs challening, historically you had to fit the needs of the customers inside what the LA and PCT will pay, but this needs to change too this is what we need for a good service.

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