Care Standards Bill [H.L.]
Baroness David (Labour)
My Lords, I apologise to the Minister: I speak to Amendment No. 29. I received a moving letter from a Mrs Wright who lives in Cambridge. She had a child who suffered from meningitis at the age of 18 months. As a result the child was disabled and doubly incontinent and required total care, which her mother gave her for 10 years or more. She was then put into a home which proved totally unsuitable. The mother writes:
"It was clear that there was a fundamental problem from the outset. The senior social worker who selected the four children for the newly opened facility, had placed together an incompatible group. Two young people were wheelchair bound and unable to communicate, one other was ambulant and a little unpredictable, while the fourth had autistic-type problems, was hyperactive and prone to sudden violent and destructive behaviour. Both I and the parents of the other wheelchair bound child tried by every means available to have the situation sorted out. We failed. Eventually my daughter was bitten by the autistic child twice, even though staff were present in the room at the time. Neither they, nor the child himself should, in my view be held liable.
"There appears to be no clear reference to this problem in the Bill. I have discovered that client to client abuse is endemic in all systems where the most vulnerable are cared for unless they are in one to one (or more) care. I was a parent governor of a local special school where it also occurred. It affects all age groups. It affects day centres, sadly again, not covered by this Bill".
I understand that from today day centres will be covered eventually.
I want an amendment to the Bill which shows that there is some concern about peer to peer abuse, not only for children but also elderly people who can be very nasty to each other. The lady who wrote the letter suggests an amendment which I have altered slightly. It would help and give comfort to all those people who have suffered, as she did, from feeling so frustrated and in despair. I hope that the Minister can do something about the situation.