How could this be allowed to happen?

What a heart-breaking story about young woman attacked on her way home on Radio 4’s Today programme (June 8th). Ben was terribly abused at the infamous Winterbourne View care home some years ago and when those abuses were uncovered by a BBC Panorama Team in 2012, and the care home was closed, he was transferred to another care home. Unbelievably, within six months of that move his family were so concerned about what he was telling them that they contacted the police and it transpired that the abuse he was receiving there was as bad, if not worse, that that he received at Winterbourne View.

Amongst the raging emotions you feel when hearing stories like this it is important that us in the care sector ask the questions “How could this be allowed to happen?” and “Could it happen in services we manage?”

Aside from all of the more formal monitoring checks that should be taking place (but had obviously failed in these cases) eg CQC, regular Case Reviews, Commissioner/Social Worker checks etc I was astonished when Ben’s mother said that the family were “not allowed” to see Ben in the first few months he spent at the second care home. I also recall hearing that when family members visited Winterbourne View they met their relatives not in the lounge, or in their bedroom, but in a Visitors Room away from the regular life of the home. I cannot how the Support Plan for any person, no matter how great the challenges, can include no contact with family members.

We must, of course, have the utmost respect to the privacy of people living in a care home but there is something about having a variety of people engaging in the life of a care home that makes bad things much less likely to happen. One of the ways Vibrance ensures this happens is sharing out the Monthly Visits we undertake to our care homes and all of our other services between the Ops Team, myself and my Senior Management Team colleagues. So every month it is any one of 8 different people who may be marching up the garden path to carry out an unplanned visit