Elderly people in care homes in Cornwall were abused and neglected while failings led to reports of concerns not being investigated, a new Safeguarding Adults Review has found. The Morleigh Group, which operated seven homes in Cornwall and has since shut down, was exposed in a BBC Panorama investigation in 2016.
A new Safeguarding Adults Review which was commissioned as a result of the TV show has been published making a number of recommendations to all agencies which were involved in the case.
The review was completed in April 2019 but has only just been made public - Rob Rotchell, Cornwall Council Cabinet member for adult social care said that this was due to the number of agencies being involved.
Problems related to the care home and the company were known well before the Panorama expose in 2016. When the Panorama programme was aired it resulted in immediate closure of one home and all the homes which were operated by Morleigh being transferred to new operators.
The Review includes reports of abuse against residents; residents being left to lie in wet urine-soaked bedsheets; concerns from relatives about their loved ones being neglected; reports of there being insufficient food for residents, no hot water and no heating; claims that dozens of residents were sharing one bathroom.
Here's a summary of the report's findings:
- More than 100 residents had concerns raised more than once.
- More than 200 safeguarding alerts were made for individuals but only 16 went through to an individual adult safeguarding conference.
- More than 80 whistleblower or similar reports were made concerning issues that put residents at risk.
- 44 inspections were undertaken at Morleigh Group homes in the three-year period, the vast majority identifying breaches.
- There was a period of at least 12 months when four of the homes had no registered manager in place.
- During the three-year period reviewed the police received 130 reports relating to the care homes.
A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said:
“We have different procedures and policies in place and have invested time, money and staffing into making sure that we can respond better when concerns are raised.''
“One of the problems was that all the partners had their own policies and procedures but they weren’t integrated. That is probably one of the key issues that we have now addressed.”
“The assessment is so different now and the organisations are working much more closely that it reduces the risk dramatically.''
This is an important and long-awaited review. This situation echoes other care home scandals across the UK. I urge everyone to read the full report and reflect on the real root causes of the problem, which I believe go well beyond failings in inter-agency policies and communication.
- What would your action plan be?
- How would you monitor it?