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Care homes in England 'failing vulnerable adults'

By BBC | June 25th 2012


Almost half of all care homes and treatment centers in England are failing to protect the welfare of vulnerable adults, a report says.

Unannounced inspections were carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), England's health regulator.

Nearly half of the 145 hospitals and care homes inspected by the CQC did not meet required standards.

This comes after abuse was uncovered by BBC Panorama at the Winterbourne View home near Bristol.

The inspections focused on examining the general care and welfare of people who used the services as well as whether people were safe from abuse.

The CQC found 48% of the inspected premises did not meet required standards in terms of care, welfare and whether people were safe from abuse. The commission also said independently-run facilities were twice as likely to fail as those run by the NHS, it said.

Restraint concerns

The locations were made up of 68 NHS assessment, treatment and secure services, including two residential care homes. There were also 45 independent assessment, treatment and secure services and 32 residential care homes included in the report.

Independent services were twice as likely - 33% compliant - to fail to meet these standards as NHS providers, which were 68% compliant.

Of the 145 locations inspected, 69 failed to meet one or both standards and 35 failed on both standards.

There were minor concerns over premises that met both standards and only 35 fully met both standards with no concerns, the CQC said.

Its report criticised the failure to treat residents as individuals and said people were staying for years in centres intended for short-term care.

It added that there were "lessons to be learned" by care providers about the use of restraint and an "urgent need" to reduce the use of restraint. Staff should be trained to use more appropriate ways of restraining patients, the report said.

Secret filming

CQC chairman Dame Jo Williams said the report had not found any evidence that pointed to abuse on the scale which was uncovered at Winterbourne View Hospital.

Secret filming by the BBC's Panorama television programme showed patients allegedly being physically and verbally abused. Twenty-four patients were transferred from Winterbourne View following the BBC investigation and the home was closed June last year.

Nine people have admitted abuse charges and two others will face trial at Bristol Crown Court this summer.

Dame Jo added: "While the findings published today highlight serious concerns about the nature of services for people with learning disabilities, we can offer some reassurance.

"However, every single case of poor care that we have found tells a human story and there is plenty of room for improvement to help a group of people whose circumstances make them particularly vulnerable."

Service clarification

Dame Jo said a copy of the report has been sent to the NHS chief executive, Sir David Nicholson.

She said: "We believe it's really important that those new commissioning bodies, the clinical commissioning groups, really do pay special attention to people with a learning disability.

"They must not do it alone, they must do it with their partners, but we know that, unless they do pay special attention to this, it's all too easy for people with learning disabilities to be overlooked."

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said the government was taking steps to improve the situation.

But he added that problems in the sector were not caused by the removal of ring-fenced funding.

"I certainly agree that we need to make sure that it's much clearer what private providers and NHS providers are actually expected to deliver.

"And that's why we have said on the Department of Health's interim report on Winterbourne View that we expect there to be new contract specifications so it's very clear what's expected from services in the future."




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