The two nuns in their eighties who fled to freedom after they were threatened with the prospect of residential care in a remote mountain retreat 250 miles away from their comfort zone may be just the tip of the iceberg of Grey Power.
Update: The Sisters are apparently safe and well, and living in comfort – hiding in an apartment lent to them by a Christian charity. The fate of the nuns is now likely to be decided by a religious court after all sides hired lawyers specialising in canonical law.
“They belong to a religious order and not a cult, so they don’t need to obey groundless and unfair orders.”
Long may it continue, and long may their new support structure maintain that freedom.
Closer to home, 87-year old Eileen Forte of St Paul’s Cray in Essex used a covert camera concealed behind a birthday card to catch her ‘carer’, Angela Holman, 33, stealing her pension. The thief received a 150-hour community order. Strange sentence, bearing in mind Holman’s experience of working in the community, but there’s always hope for improvement in the world of care. But well done, Mrs Forte for living up to your great surname!
The sentence hasn’t gone down too well with Mrs Forte’s family, and it appears that suspicions about Holman stealing from her other elderly charges had not been taken seriously before canny Granny Forte provided the evidence. Only then did Care UK take it seriously enough to suspend and eventually to dismiss Holman from her exceedingly gainful employment.
And yet Care UK, the private company behind a controversial independent Derbyshire hospital has won an award for helping unemployed people get jobs in the care industry.
“Care UK, which provides hip and knee operations on behalf of the NHS at Barlborough Independent Treatment Centre, won the “recruitment partnership” accolade in the regional Jobcentre Plus Awards.” I only hope that Care UK will follow through on that award and provide ongoing supervision of their new employees.
Mrs Forte’s family alerted Care UK to their suspicions of abuse, but no steps were taken then.
Another story of abuse and neglect emerged recently when UK Border Agency officials raided the Linford Park Nursing Home in Ringwood, on the outskirts of the New Forest, Hampshire, amid concerns about the care of residents. Four members of staff were arrested on suspicion of neglect. And 13 workers were found to be illegal immigrants: two were dealt with immediately and released on bail. The other 11 were detained: 8 females from Ghana, Malawi and the Philippines, and 3 males from Ghana and the Philippines.
Would the authorities have taken action if there had been no involvement of the UK Border Agency? Would the ‘care home’ have listened to the concerns of residents and/or their family? Would Hampshire County Council have listened, investigated and acted? Would CQC have listened, investigated and acted? There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that they would all have procrastinated before they cleansed and covertly concealed. Linford Park Nursing Home is registered to care for up to 80 vulnerable elderly people with dementia, with mental health needs, and with physical disability. That’s its registration at present – but perhaps not for long.
CSCI never involved itself in complaints – the complainant was always referred to the care provider. Example: when I asked the care provider to prove to me that the care home staff were all above board, bona fide, suitably qualified and carefully selected legal workers, I was informed by the care provider that the laptop containing those records had been stolen!! How very convenient. CSCI didn’t care; the Local Authority didn’t care. I cared – and I still care.
CQC is no different: a complaint has to be handled by the care provider and then the local authority, if the first port of call fails. And from 1st October 2010, the LGO (Local Government Ombudsman) is the next port of call. Meanwhile, the cruise ship will have hit the rocks, and the vulnerable elderly will be the ones to have suffered.
What is the point of the Care Quality Commission? Answers below, please!
I’m with the Nuns and with Canny Granny Forte– we will just have to find new ways of working together.