As the Competitions and Markets Authority launches a market study into care homes for the elderly, to review how well the market works and whether people are treated fairly Care Industry News speaks to Jenny Moore of Your Voice Matters a body developed to protect the interests of both care home residents and their loved ones.
“In March 2015 I met Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham to discuss areas of failings within the care home sector. This included the issue of banning of relatives and eviction of residents.
“I began this journey to raise awareness of the practice of banning in 2010, after I found myself banned from visiting my relative who had dementia in a care home.”
After 5 years of meeting local MP’s and senior CQC Managers and getting nowhere, Jenny got to speak to again Andy Burnham again in May 2016.
“I discussed with him the similarities of Hillsborough to the cover up culture in the care home sector..
“I told him that in 6 years I had been unable to get the protection for residents and their families, and it had to be stopped once and for all.”
Following this meeting Your Voice Matters launched a new campaign via their website. Rights 2 Speak Up 4 Care was set up to change the issues many residents and loved ones have suffered via some care providers.
Jenny continued “Whistleblower Nurse Vasanta Suddock assisted Your Voice Matters and submitted questions on Regulations and Laws to the CQC around the issue of banning visitors.
“Andrea Sutcliffe referred this to the CQC Legal Team.”
“We received a response from Andrea Sutcliffe who wrote to Your Voice Matters and stated they would write guidelines for their website, as they were concerned a situation I had found myself in with a care home this year was happening to others.
“My problem with this response is that the CQC was already aware. We had reported issues many times!”
“These guidelines were written and checked by Your Voice Matters who as a group were unhappy and invited information to correct the details but the original guidelines were uploaded anyway”
A few weeks ago Jenny contacted the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show who were not aware the organisation, or their campaign.
“They were enthusiastic for us to be involved in a programme on the issue of banning and invited me to contribute to the programme on 2 November.
“There was such an overwhelming response, the programme revisited the issue of evictions issue the following day.”
“Following this programme North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones mentioned the issue of raising concerns to care homes in the House of Commons, acknowledging Your Voice Matters and our campaign Rights 2 Speak Up 4 Care.
“Peter Heaton-Jones has confirmed he will continue to work with Your Voice Matters and together we hope we can bring desperately needed change to the care home sector.”
Care England and the National Care Association have both recently stated that the issue of banning and evictions is rare.
Jenny added “This long awaited national media exposure has proven it is not.
“How much suffering could have been prevented if someone had listened and acted on this before now.
“Many lives have been destroyed during this time, families living with the grief of not only losing their loved one, but the feeling of ‘I should have done more.”
She continued “I tell families they could not, they did all they could.
“We have said many times publically, the care home providers have too much power.
“Local Authorities we know turn a blind eye as they worry where they will place residents if they close.
“The CQC admitted they too had turned a blind eye in fear of being sued.
“Care staff are too fearful to speak out, which leaves it to the families and they pay the price.
“We need a new era of transparency, robust regulation and protection for people who raise concerns about care home providers. Your Voice Matters are grateful to Peter Heaton-Jones MP and we very much look forward to continuing to work with him to bring much needed change to the elderly care home sector. Let us hope we can bring a future where all care homes are happy and safe places to live, visit and work.”
To read information on this campaign and watch the Parliamentary debate, please visit the Your Voice Matters web site http://www.yourvoicematters.org.uk/rights2speakup4care