Nursing home abuse prompts Cumbrian MP to call for monitoring changes
Last updated at 08:43, Tuesday, 13 May 2014
The shocking abuse of Cumbrian pensioners has prompted an MP to call for urgent changes to the way care homes are monitored.
Two more people last week pleaded guilty to systematically abusing elderly patients with dementia.
William Bowman, 22, and Chevonne Benson, 23, both admitted the charges at Carlisle Crown Court and will join fellow carer 21-year-old Claire Strong in being sentenced later in the year.
The humiliating abuse, which took place over several months last year, saw elderly residents subjected to cruel treatment which included assaults, hair pulling, name calling and various sick pranks.
All were employed at the Bupa-run Beacon Edge Nursing Home in Penrith.
Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border, said he was horrified and appalled at the detail which emerged during the court hearing.
“These people being abused are completely helpless; they are totally vulnerable,” he told the News & Star.
“I need to get in touch with the Care Quality Commission – the regulator – and try to understand what more we can do to make sure these things are picked up and not overlooked. Whether it is that we need better anonymous hotlines or more trusted routes for whistleblowers.
“What we are talking about is how can the CQC inspectors find out this happening? A 96-year-old with Alzheimer’s is not going to be able to inform the CQC.”
It is the second care home within the MP’s constituency to come under the spotlight this week.
Last Tuesday, the News & Star revealed that elderly residents at Meadow Bank Nursing Home, in Curthwaite near Wigton, had been left unwashed for weeks.
CQC inspectors also discovered rat poison stored in the food cupboard, and infections left to spread unchecked at the home, which has since closed.
Mr Stewart described the report as “absolutely terrible”, but said that he was pleased the CQC had caught it on this occasion.
He believes that following the scandal at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, the CQC has been under extreme pressure to ensure it is fully checking standards.
“There is an area the CQC is focusing hard on and they are being tough,” Mr Stewart added.
“The CQC has closed a care home in Yanwath and I’ve received at least 20 letters from people whose relatives were there and they are very sad it was being closed.”
Yanwath Care Home has received several critical reports by the CQC, after its owners – the Hemingway Group Ltd – went into administration.
Last year the News & Star ran a series of hard-hitting articles as part of an investigation into the standards of adult social care in Cumbria. At the time Sir Tony Cunningham, MP for Workington, labelled the issue a “ticking timebomb” and health and social care leaders united with politicians to call for change.
Reflecting on the increasing number of care homes and private care providers which have been found to have failed users, Mr Stewart said he had seen no evidence to suggest the situation was getting worse.
Instead, he blamed years of poor practice.
“There’s definitely a sense that we have not been on top of this stuff for a long time now,” he said. “My instinct on this is that – quite rightly – people are beginning to shine the spotlight on things up and down the country.”
First published at 08:39, Tuesday, 13 May 2014
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
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