Care Home Patients Degraded: Report

Care Home Report Warning

06.03.2008

A new report has warned that adults with learning difficulties are being subjected to "abusive and degrading treatment" in healthcare centres and residential homes across the UK.

The report, from Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights, cited cases in which people were inappropriately restrained with straps or a "chemical cosh", denied treatment because of their learning disability or even assaulted.

And it added that such incidents reflect a wider culture in which people with learning disabilities are denied their fundamental human rights.

The report called for a "culture change" to bring the provision of services of adults with learning disabilities in line with the aspirations of the Government's Human Rights Act and the Duty to Promote Disability Equality.

The committee said it was "particularly concerned" that even after the introduction of these measures, the Government was still "searching for levers" to encourage authorities to implement the requirement to ensure dignity and respect for all.

Labour MP Andrew Dismore, who chairs the cross-party committee of MPs and peers, said: "There is a real gap between the Government's policy which is designed to improve the lives of adults with learning disabilities and their everyday experiences.

"We call on the Government to do more. The task of securing the dignity and self-respect of this vulnerable group is the responsibility of us all."

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Rachelle Mahapatra from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: This report further adds concern to the effectiveness of the protection for vulnerable individuals living in residential care. Many do not have the support of a caring family who can represent their interests and leaves them open to the potential for inappropriate treatment.

"The new Mental Capacity Act has created a new offence of ill treatment and wilful neglect of a person who lacks capacity. However the regulators of care homes such as the CSCI need to ensure that the police are notified when they are made aware of incidents of neglect and assault."