Social Care ‘Has Long Way To Go’ In Cornwall

Care for vulnerable adults in Cornwall has “a long way to go”, according to a highly critical leaked report.

National watchdog, the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), says improvements are vital to properly care for adults with learning disabilities.

A copy of a draft executive summary of a CSCI report, due to be published in April and obtained by the WMN, concedes Cornwall County Council has made some improvements in the area, but highlights just four strengths in the service – compared to 14 weaknesses.

“It is worse now than it has ever been,” said Reg Broad, spokesman for Cornwall’s branch of Mencap, the charity which campaigns for people with learning disabilities. “This report just says to me that not much has been done. One of the strengths is that a new IT system is being rolled out. Is that the best thing they can say?

“In some ways, it is good that CSCI is looking into what is happening in Cornwall. But overall, it just makes for depressing reading.”

The CSCI report is part of the ongoing rolling inspection regime of social services across the country.

However, Cornwall is a county still reeling from two recent scandals involving adults with learning disabilities. Last year, an independent review said the agencies involved in the care of Steven Hoskin, an adult with learning disabilities, had failed him at every level.

Mr Hoskin was tortured and drugged before being taken to the top of a viaduct in St Austell and bullied until he fell 100ft to his death.

In 2006, a shocking catalogue of abuse involving adults with learning disabilities was revealed at Falmouth’s Budock Hospital. The hospital was run by Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust.

As patients moved into the community, they were cared for by Cornwall County Council. A Cornwall County Council spokesman refused to comment on the leaked report.

The CSCI report concedes there have been some improvements in the service, but says it is not enough.

It highlights areas of ongoing concern with regard to “the lack of effective future planning and support for individuals living with single or frail elderly carers. Risk assessment and contingency planning were poorly developed and co-ordinated within and across agencies.”

It says areas of “weak practice” are made worse because frontline teams have to grapple with high workloads.

However, there is praise: “Some pockets of positive work in supporting people to play a full part in the life of the community.”

Overall, the verdict is damning. “It was our view that the council and its partners still have a long way to go to ensure a timely and person-centred response to individual needs,” it says.

A CSCI spokesman refused to comment until the report is published in April.