In the last 16 months more than 4,000 people have spoken out about the way that disabled and elderly people in care homes are being treated. The Care Quality Commission is responsible for the regulation of hospitals and care homes in England. Recently they revealed that some complaints that residents of care homes have been physically assaulted had been made.
Complaints have risen from December 2010’s 22 per month to 556 in March 2010. Whistleblowers, say the CQC, include care home staff and relatives of people in care. The commission revealed that members of staff assaulting residents were among the issues raised. Other issues included failing to respond to residents’ call bells, refusing to take people to the toilet and shouting at disabled and elderly patients. The level of staffing was also complained about.
The CQC’s Amanda Sherlock said that the increase was linked partly to a greater awareness of problems following a BBC Panorama television programme exposing the abuse of patients at a private hospital near Bristol, called Winterbourne View.
Conservative MP for Kingswood, South Gloucestershire, Chris Skidmore who also sits on the Health Committee at the House of Commons, used a Freedom of Information request to obtain the information about the complaints rise. He finds the figures alarming and thinks it suggests that under the surface poor quality care is still being given
Action on Elder Abuse’s chief executive Gary FitzGerald said that low-level incidents can develop into serious abuse. Even not knocking before entering a resident’s room could escalate to maybe not closing a toilet door when it is in use.
He blames politicians for the decline in standards as they are doing nothing to stop it. Three Winterbourne View staff pleaded guilty to ill treatment of residents in February. This case was brought about by secret filming by Panorama.