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09 Dec 2021

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Doing the decent thing

By guest blogger ROY LILLEY

Learning disability, probably one of the most misunderstood terms in the lexicon of care, is used to describe people with an over exuberance for life and affection, through to people with syndromes we can barely describe, let alone treat.

Often, with love, care and attention people with LD live normal, fruitful, and productive, happy lives. For others, there is no prospect of family life. For their own safety and well-being, they live in places we trust, to care for them and their special needs.

Whorlton Hall, operated by Cygnet, was such a place, its services contracted by our-NHS. Within our purview. Relatives and friends would have been relieved that the quality regulator, the Care Quality Commission, dismissed claims from a whistleblower at Whorlton Hall and in March last year, rated the home; ‘good’.

There was a further visit, less than a month before the BBC Panorama programme broadcast secretly-filmed footage of staff taunting vulnerable patients. It looked like a hell-hole. Experts described the behaviour of staff as ‘psychological torture’. Ten people have since been arrested.

The CQC’s response? They have taken down their report describing Whorlton Hall as ‘good’. There’s reference to their subsequent visit where they express concern for the overworked staff and aspects of training.

What have the CQC said? Nothing of meaning. They should have said; ‘We are horrified that our inspectors have had the wool pulled over their eyes. We are shamed by these events and have to accept inspection does not and cannot, guarantee the safety of vulnerable people.

‘We cannot continue to pretend we can add assurance to the safety and quality of the NHS and its services and will be seeking an early meeting, with the Secretary of State, to recommend the CQC, in its present form, is disbanded…’

Of course, they’ll not say that. They’ve jobs and careers to protect. Prise their white knuckles from their office doors? We should. If there was any decency and justice, wouldn’t the chairman resign and the non-executive directors offer to go? The chief executive, an ex-policeman, knows about criminal behaviour and assault and torture. On his watch… shouldn’t he go?

Given the seriousness of the allegations, it is difficult to see how the minister, Caroline Dinenage, can survive. Alas, we live in a world were politicians don’t do the decent thing, never mind the right thing. If torture of the innocents is not a reason to resign… what is?

– The above is an extract from one of Roy Lilleys’ regular blogs published on nhsmanagers.net To read the full piece, go to https://ihm.org.uk/roy-lilley-nhsmanagers/

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

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