A deeply worrying 81% of social workers have come across abuse in an adult residential care home, with 55% having experienced extreme abuse, a survey by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has discovered.
Of the social workers surveyed, most of whom work with older people, people with mental health issues and people with physical disabilities, more than 70% think that residential care is not fit for purpose and 80% think the Care Quality Commission inspection arrangements are far from adequate.
The findings suggest the appalling scenes filmed by Panorama at the Winterbourne View hospital earlier this year could be more widespread than anyone would like to contemplate.
Increasing numbers of residential care homes for adults are being privatised, despite over 80% of social workers feeling that care homes shouldn’t be run for private profit. Over 65% of BASW members surveyed have reported a care home for failings and a staggering half of social workers have come across homes that they think should simply be closed.
Ruth Cartwright, BASW England Manager, said: “These alarming statistics paint a picture of a society which does not set much store in maintaining the dignity of its most vulnerable members. Most care workers are devoted and committed but they are poorly paid, poorly trained and caught up in systems where the emphasis is on profits for shareholders rather than care for people.”
The findings come as the Equality and Human Rights Commission conducts a major inquiry in to home care, investigating how well the home based care and support system in England is protecting the rights of people over 65. Their interim report reveals older people’s basic human rights are being overlooked.
Ruth added: “Treating people with respect and courtesy costs nothing. I urge social workers who see or hear of anything of concern regarding the care of service users to pass those concerns on and to document them. It is difficult to be in a position where you have to receive care and the whole sector – commissioners, managers and staff – needs to bear in mind how they would like to be treated if they were in that situation. It’s as simple as that but the profit motive can skew this as seen at Winterbourne View and with the demise of Southern Cross.”