Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults: Care Homes

Part of Speaker’S Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority – in the House of Commons at 9:09 pm on 26th February 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Dinenage Caroline Dinenage Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care) 9:09 pm, 26th February 2019

I would like to start by congratulating Dr Allin-Khan on securing this debate. Her speech this evening has been described as brave, but she took the time out yesterday to talk me through this incredibly distressing case, so she has been brave twice. She deserves all our respect and credit for doing that, because, as has been pointed out by others, she is not just talking about her own individual case, tragic though that is, but by articulating it in such an incredibly courageous way, she is also helping to support others who do not have this opportunity to share their voice and raise their concerns in the same way.

Everyone in this House has the same motivation, which is to ensure that our care services for the most vulnerable people are safe and of the highest quality. The hon. Lady talks powerfully about dementia, which is a priority for me personally. I have experienced what it is like to have a close family member, my grandmother, living with dementia. So many people up and down the country share that experience, and I think we all recognise that a dementia diagnosis is one for not only the individual concerned but their whole family. That is why I am so passionate about the need to ensure that those affected by this condition and others are cared for in the best possible way and that a robust complaints process for redress is in place if their care falls short of that.

It would be bad enough if the terrible situation that the hon. Lady describes was taking place in care homes—that would be disgusting and terrible—but she is talking about an extra care facility. Such a facility is where people have their own self-contained homes; they have their own front doors and their own legal right to occupy. So this is a failure of care in someone’s own home—it is a domiciliary care situation. That is why I am even more concerned about what can happen behind closed doors in an individual’s own house. To have a loved one affected by a degenerative illness is terrible for the individual and a matter of huge worry for their family. So I have previously said in this House that every allegation of abuse and neglect should be thoroughly investigated, with prosecutions brought where this is found.