Abuse In Care Services – Older People Next?

In the light of recent revelations about the abuse in social care services in Cornwall, the R&RA is gravely concerned that the regulatory authorities could now be failing to prevent similar abuse in care homes for older people. The Chief Executive of R&RA, Gillian Dalley, has written to the Secretary of State for Health, Patricia Hewitt, asking her to rethink her decision in March this year to reduce the frequency of care home inspections.

The R&RA fears that more vulnerable people could be suffering abuse now as a result of this change which may never be brought to light.  It wants more inspections rather than fewer.

R&RA is appalled that the abuse of people with learning difficulties in Cornwall developed under the eyes of national watchdogs expressly set up by government to protect them. In addition, these same two bodies were responsible for investigating their own shortcomings and failures.

What’s more, two years ago – when the abuse was rife –  the key social services watchdog, the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), awarded Cornwall Social Services Department – the lead authority for adult protection and commissioning in the area – a respectable two star performance rating.

Yet the joint report issued by the two watchdogs (CSCI and the Healthcare Commission) now condemns the same social services department for longstanding failures in community care assessment and collaboration with partners in the local health system, as well as heavily criticizing the local NHS.

The regulatory authorities must wake up to the dangers that face those vulnerable people whom they are there to protect.