Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Elderly Deserves Care

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Elderly Deserves Care

Article excerpt

Seventy care homes have been shut in the North-East in the last six months because they didn't meet national care standards or fell into financial ruin.

A Journal investigation has revealed that every year hundreds of vulnerable, elderly people across the region are subjected to the stress of living in homes which fail to provide the care they deserve or are forced to close because owners can no longer afford to keep them going.

The revelation comes on the eve of an undercover TV documentary which claims to expose a series of alleged problems at a care home in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside.

The programme claims to have discovered soiled bed linen, clothes being washed in water that was too cold, a lack of trained staff administering medication and elderly residents left on soiled bed linen for several hours at the Starcross Residential Care Home, Marine Avenue.

Solicitor Alan Horn for Starcross manager Dr Abidogun Samuel said last night his client had not yet seen the film but took issue with "most if not all" of the accusations.

Age Concern Gateshead chief officer Anne Marshall said: "There are lots of problems with care homes, often linked to a lack of staffing and low pay, but it is vital that standards remain high."

Joanne Mears, branch manager of North Tyneside's Alzheimer's Society, was involved in dealing with a complaint about Starcross from the relatives of one of the elderly residents.

She said they had dealt with at least 10 complaints since the beginning of the year in relation to care homes in the area.

"I think the important message is to seek help if you need it. There are many agencies around that can offer help," she said.

National charity Action on Elderly Abuse says every year up to 800,000 old people are being abused at any one time in the UK - roughly the population of Liverpool. Over 21pc are from nursing and care homes.

The Starcross home is one of a number featured on Channel 5's Donal MacIntyre Investigates tomorrow night.

Mr Horn said: "With regards to the allegation of untrained staff, the member of staff identified had received appropriate training in administering medication and a spot check of the laundry by the NCS did not show up any unacceptable linen.

"We have not had a preview copy of the film and can only respond to specific accusations but we are taking issue with most if not all of the accusations raised."

The National Care Standards Commission, a new independent public body set up under the Care Standards Act 2000 to regulate social care and private and voluntary health care services throughout England, replacing inspection by local authority and health authority units.

From April 1, 2002, it took responsibility for the registration and inspection of services. …

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