DAA News Network

UK: Care home company criticised for failing residents

Posted 30/7-11 at 23.11

After an BBC undercover investigation found gross violations of disabled people's human rights at Winterbourne View, a care facility run by Castlebeck, 23 of the company's other homes have been inspected.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) report that about half were "judged by inspectors to be non-compliant with the essential standards of quality and safety".

Inspectors found that patients were not safeguarded from "physical and emotional harm", "restraint was [not] always appropriate, reasonable, proportionate and justifiable to that individual", "people ... are not safe" and there were not enough staff.

Castlebeck is owned by Lydian Capital Partners, a Geneva-based investment fund backed by a consortium of investors including Irish billionaires Denis Brosnan, Dermot Desmond, JP McManus and John Magnier.

The NHS and local authorities pay Castlebeck an average of £3,500 a week to care for each person. Since 2006, when Lydian Capital bought the company, yearly receipts have risen by 80% to £55m.

CQC chief executive Cynthia Bower said they were following up its Castlebeck inquiry with a major review of learning disability services. "We will carry out unannounced inspections of 150 of these services," she said.

The Department of Health also announced a new review of quality and regulation in social care which will look at the standards of care homes, staff training and the way in which they are monitored.

Paul Burstow, the care minister, said that "what went on was unacceptable" and "commissioners in local authorities and the NHS need to ask themselves whether [Castlebeck] are the right people to be taking services from".

The Labour opposition were critical of the government, saying that data showed nearly one in five people with learning difficulties in hospitals such as Winterbourne View had been there for more than five years. "You have NHS cash being used by councils to fund places where people with learning disabilities are left for years. We need to get them out into the community," said the shadow health minister, Emily Thornberry.


Editorial comment: Apparently, providing sufficient well-trained staff or ensuring a safe environment for residents wasn't a priority for Lydian Capital Partners. Could it be because this would reduce their profits? Surely not. Nonetheless, it would be interesting to know how much companies such as this manage to make from cutting corners while essentially incarcerating disabled people.

Furthermore, If the British government was serious about fulfilling its obligations under the CRDP to promote independent living for disabled people, at £3500/week it could easily support people with learning difficulties to live in the community, rather than filling the already bulging coffers of offshore companies and their billionaire investors.





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