Carer arrested following Panorama care home programme

A woman has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting a resident at a care home that was the subject of an undercover investigation by the BBC’s Panorama, police said.

The woman, aged in her 40s, was arrested by detectives probing abuse at the Old Deanery Care Home in Braintree, Essex Police said yesterday.

Anglia Retirement Homes Ltd, which runs the home, sacked seven members of staff there after Panorama this week showed an elderly woman with dementia being bullied and slapped by a worker.

The woman arrested has been released on bail until later this month pending further inquiries, police added.

An Essex Police spokesman said the woman had been arrested after police examined the contents of the Panorama broadcast.

He added: “The documentary highlighted the treatment of residents inside the Old Deanery Care Home.

“Essex Police were denied an advance viewing of the programme so were only able to begin an investigation following its nationwide broadcast on Wednesday, April 30.

“On Friday evening officers arrested a woman in her 40s at her home in Braintree on suspicion of assaulting a resident at the care home before being released on police bail until later this month pending further inquiries.”

The force also urged anyone else wanting to report abuse or neglect at the home to come forward.

Essex Police launched an investigation after the programme showed residents being taunted, roughly handled, ignored and left in their own excrement for hours at the 93-bed home, which costs up to £700 a week.

Anglia Retirement Homes Ltd released a statement after the documentary was aired in which it insisted the incidents involved only a small number of staff and said the company did not tolerate this kind of behaviour.

It said that after initially suspending eight members of staff when the allegations first came to light, six had been been dismissed and a further case is being urgently reviewed, while the care worker responsible for slapping the resident was summarily dismissed earlier in the week.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited the site while Panorama was undercover in November and gave the home a clean bill of health.

But the regulator returned two months ago after it was informed about the Panorama findings and found shortcomings including too few staff and some residents having to wait too long for assistance.