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By Debbie le Quesne

Ahead of Panorama: Secret abuse that must be rooted out

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Understandably, the care sector is a little twitchier than usual today as it braces itself for tonight’s shocking report by Panorama.

HC–One, which features in the ‘Behind Closed Doors: Elderly Care Exposed’ report have already gone public by responding with the announcement of introducing a camera-watch system in its homes.

The Care Quality Commission also has a response on its website which has been picked up by a number of publications.

Clearly, we still need the Panorama approach to expose rotten care, but it makes me feel ashamed that we still have not cracked an effective screening to ensure rogue employees are kept well away from the care business.

This evening’s Panorama investigates what life can be like inside the world of elderly residential care homes and asks if parts of the system are letting down our elderly.

Secret filming uncovers what can happen away from the eyes of relatives and Commission inspectors and shows the lives of some elderly and vulnerable people blighted by poor care.

I read that since the episode care workers have been suspended and others convicted of assault.

We struggle so hard over years to present all of the good care that hundreds of homes deliver and in a brief hour all of good work is undermined. I am not for one moment suggesting that such abuse is silenced or ignored by the media, but hope the public understands that all care is not bad. Sadly, I feel this morning that such wishes are just a dream.

On it’s website, the CQC posted: “CQC carries out an unannounced inspection of every care and nursing home in England every year – more often if we believe people may be at risk. This system of regulation can and does identify poor care which CQC then takes action to tackle.

“However, what it cannot do is to identify and stamp out deliberately concealed abuse. By its very nature, concealed abuse takes place away from the eyes of managers and inspectors and can even take place, as in this case, in a well-run care home. Abuse of vulnerable people is a criminal matter, and is rightly handled by the police and the courts.

“CQC has taken action against a number of providers where a current risk to people has been identified. In this case, the risk had been dealt with by the removal of the care staff involved by the home. CQC’s role was to make sure residents were protected once police and social services had acted to deal with the abuse shown in the hidden camera footage. CQC acted quickly and appropriately in this regard.”

My sympathy is extended to the people affected in this case and I have no words to express my anger that fellow human beings can do such cruel things to vulnerable people. Yes, I know that there have always been ‘bad eggs’ and that some have no conscious about wrongdoing. I guess I want the culprits to understand the full extend of the damage they do, firstly to their victims and the victims’ families . . . and then the wider care arena.

Get ready to man the phones Debbie!

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