Secret filming in care home exposes taunts and abuse

Apr 30, 2014

One staff member sacked and seven suspended after investigation reveals poor care for elderly

Ulrich Baumgarten via Getty Images

UNDERCOVER footage has exposed shocking failings in one of England's largest care homes, where residents were physically assaulted, ignored and left in their own excrement for hours.

One staff member has been sacked and seven have been suspended from the Old Deanery in Essex following a BBC Panorama investigation.

Staff were caught on camera taunting residents and handling them roughly, while one elderly woman was slapped by a care worker and also mocked and bullied by other staff.

Reporter Alex Lee secretly filmed the footage as she carried out 36 shifts at the 93-bed home in Braintree, where allegations of poor care were first raised by 11 whistleblowers in August 2012.

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

The company, which was taken over by new owners in November 2013, says it took "immediate action" as soon as it was made aware of the allegations and hired an independent law firm to carry out a full investigation.

In a second sting at another care home, also featured in the Panorama programme, 98-year-old Yvonne Grant is seen lying in her bed calling for a nurse 321 times and pleading for the toilet 45 times in just over an hour before anyone checks on her. She was eventually taken to the toilet two-and-a-half hours after she first asked for help.

The footage was taken by the woman's granddaughter, Vanessa Evans, at Oban House in Croydon, South London in December 2012.

A spokesperson for HC-One, which owns Oban House, admits that the film shows "shocking and distressing failings". They add: "We do not tolerate this kind of behaviour. We apologised unreservedly to the late Mrs Grant and her family, and we remain deeply sorry for the distress that was caused. This should never have happened."

Two staff at Oban House have since been convicted of common assault for their poor treatment.

  •  Panorama - Behind Closed Doors: Elderly Care Exposed will be broadcast at 9pm on 30 April on BBC One

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