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Panorama Filming At Old Deanery Care Home Finds Shocking Standards Of Care

Staff Member Sacked And Others Suspended At Essex Care Home


An undercover probe into one of England’s largest care homes which found residents were being mistreated has resulted in one staff member being sacked and seven others suspended.

BBC Panorama launched undercover filming at the Old Deanery in Braintree, Essex, last year which showed some residents being taunted, roughly handled and one was slapped.

The secret filming by Panorama's undercover reporter over 36 shifts found many of the same sorts of issues occurring that were reported a year earlier when 11 whistleblowers raised concerns about poor care and mistreatment. Essex County Council put the 93-bed home under special measures for three months, yet Panorama found repeated instances of abuse including:
•         A woman slapped by a care worker who had previously been complained about for her poor attitude towards residents;
•         The same woman, who has dementia and is partially paralysed after a stroke, being repeatedly mocked and taunted by other care workers;
•         Cries for assistance from a resident suffering a terminal illness ignored as she sought help for the toilet, and her call bell for assistance left unplugged on one occasion;
•         A resident bed-ridden with a chronic illness left lying in his own excrement after two care workers turned off his call bell without assisting him.

In November last year, while Panorama was undercover, the home was inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulator and passed for the first time in 18 months.

Yet when the CQC revisited this February after being told about Panorama's findings, they found staff shortages and some residents waiting an "unacceptably long time" for call bells to be answered.

CQC figures reported by the BBC show over a third of homes that received warning notices since 2011 still do not meet basic standards.

Anglia Retirement Homes Ltd, which runs the Old Deanery, said the incidents involved a "small number of staff" and were not reflective of the high standards of care it demanded.

A statement said: "As soon as the new management team was made aware of the allegations we took immediate action.

"We hired an independent law firm to carry out a full investigation as a matter of urgency.

"Eight staff were immediately suspended, and have not returned to work, pending a full inquiry.

"Our priority remains the health and wellbeing of our residents and we have more than 200 dedicated members of staff who remain committed to the highest standards of care."

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