As regular readers know, I look after my brother who has severe learning difficulties. Sweet natured and fun to be with, he is dependent on others and cannot communicate. He will need safeguarding for the rest of his life.
To fail vulnerable people is not just failing in a duty of care – it is inhumane. At Winterbourne View care home in the UK endemic abuse was cruel and sadistic towards those that could not comprehend what was happening to them, let alone defend themselves. They were let down badly by the care system. The under cover investigation by the BBC Panorama team has finally led to nine support workers and two nurses being sent to prison when a whistleblower had not been listened to.
Yet some of those abused have had further safeguarding alerts in their new residential homes – in one case leading to a criminal inquiry. In a broadcast tonight:
Panorama is set to report that at least 19 of the 51 former Winterbourne View patients have been issued with safeguarding alerts since they were moved to other care homes – according to NHS figures
There may well be no excuse for failure as the Government Minister Mr Lamb said today. We will continue to have problems until we have a situation where there is enough capacity to cope with demands on the care system so sub standard homes can be closed without causing homelessness. Plus more competition should drive up standards with family’s having more choice.
If we continue to fail in regulating care, where users cannot speak out, whistleblowers are not listened to, and families input invalidated, we will not be the compassionate society we aspire to be.
The vulnerable will take the brunt of our failure, not us. That is the stark harshness of it all. No one said life was fair. It’s time to fight for those that cannot fight back.