Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults: Care Homes

Part of Speaker’S Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority – in the House of Commons at 8:48 pm on 26th February 2019.

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Photo of Rosena Allin-Khan Rosena Allin-Khan Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Sport) 8:48 pm, 26th February 2019

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his intervention, and I am sorry that his constituent has had to live through that for eight years. I know how terribly difficult it has been to deal with such a situation for one year. His constituent is very lucky to have him raising this matter on his behalf again.

From the very first meeting with the safeguarding team at Wandsworth Council, my brother and I felt as though we were being put on trial. A new manager from Ensham House was present, but he had no idea about what had happened to my father, despite having been sent the horrific photos of his brutal injuries. The safeguarding team had not even looked at them. London Care had no answers as to why we were not called, and again had no answers as to how it could have happened. It was not until the wonderful police officer arrived, at my request, viewed the photos and showed visible alarm at the injury patterns that the Wandsworth Council staff actually took notice. I would like to extend my thanks to the fantastic police that we have in Wandsworth and up and down the country, who give of themselves day and night to ensure the safety of our community, even though they often stand up for people for whom they may never get answers.

It was agreed with Wandsworth Council’s safeguarding team that a police investigation would now commence, but it was explained to us that because Optivo housing association had not placed any CCTV cameras anywhere in Ensham House other than in the communal areas, and because my father could not communicate what had happened to him, it was very likely that we would not receive the answers we were looking for, and that a criminal conviction would be very difficult to obtain. As the police commenced their investigation, we expected the council to start conducting its own investigation, at the very least, because regardless of whether there had been criminal activity, questions needed answering. They were not answered, however.

In the following months, we found my father bruised again on two further occasions, with no explanation. He started to sleep in the communal area, for fear of being alone in his room. By this time, the Ensham House care staff knew that we were paying close attention because we were incredibly concerned, and that is when they started to attempt to claim that, despite a year of living there with no issues relating to him, my father was being difficult. The allegations were not corroborated by his community psychiatric team or any staff at the day centre where he spent up to 25 hours a week, and there had been no record of any issues prior to the first incident. Relatives of other residents started to tell us that staff had boasted that they were trying to get dad out because we were asking too many questions.