Elderly care home abuse: Shocking footage shows elderly residents being taunted and assaulted at Essex care home

Staff sacked after undercover report while watchdog warns hundreds of homes are failing

social affairs correspondent

The shocking state of elderly care in Britain is exposed today by undercover footage showing patients being abused, taunted and even slapped by staff supposed to be caring for them.

Residents at a care home in Essex were physically assaulted, ignored and left in their own excrement for hours according to an investigation by BBC One's Panorama. Mistreatment was also uncovered at another care home in South London, where two care workers were convicted of common assault for how they handled a patient.

In total 15 people have now been suspended at the two homes and eight sacked.

Harrowing images captured by hidden cameras echo the abuse uncovered three years ago at Winterbourne View, a private Hampshire hospital whose patients with learning disabilities were assaulted.

The fresh care scandal comes as the national regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), publishes startling figures showing that basic standards of care are not being met be a significant number of homes.

More than a third of care homes which were given warning notices for being substandard continue not to meet basic standards, the CQC has revealed. The figures mean 406 care homes housing up to 15,533 vulnerable people are still failing to meet essential standards.

Undercover filming at the Old Deanery, a 93 bed residential care home mainly for the elderly in Braintree, found residents were being mistreated more than a year after whistleblowers first reported concerns.

Allegations about the Old Deanery were first raised by 11 whistle-blowers in August 2012. Essex County Council and the CQC investigated and an inspection found that staffing levels were “woefully inadequate” and that some residents were also waiting too long for help.

To see if things had improved, Panorama sent reporter Alex Lee to work 36 undercover shifts last year with a hidden camera. She filmed a woman with dementia who was partially paralysed being slapped by a care worker who had previously been the recipient of complaints. Other care workers were also caught on camera repeatedly mocking, taunting, and bullying the same patient.

A resident with a terminal illness had her cries for help ignored as she sought help to go to the toilet. Another bed-ridden resident with a chronic illness left lying in his own excrement for an hour after two care workers turned off his call bell without helping him. A man in his eighties was mockingly called a “bitch” over and over again by a care worker, after he became agitated and called her that because of how she was cleaning his private parts.

In November 2013, while Ms Lee was still undercover, the Old Deanery was inspected again by the CQC and given a clean bill of health. However, the regulator went back two months ago, following Panorama's revelations, and found problems with staff shortages, delays in providing help and one patient “crying and distressed” because they couldn't find someone to take them to the toilet.

Andrea Sutcliffe, the CQC's new Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care said: “The care shown in the Panorama programme is unacceptable. My sympathy goes out to the people affected. I am angry that the good care we know is provided is undermined when people are failed in this way.”

since 2011, 158 homes have closed following action taken by CQC. Ms Sutcliffe added: 'We cannot always know what goes on behind closed doors but I am determined that our new approach will strengthen our ability to uncover poor care and take action when we need to.“

Anglia Retirement Homes Ltd, which changed ownership in November 2013, runs the Old Deanery. A spokesman for the care home said they “apologised unreservedly” for the failings uncovered in the Panorama programme. He added: “As soon as new management was made aware of the allegations we took immediate action… eight staff were immediately suspended and have not returned to work, pending a full enquiry. The care worker responsible for slapping a resident has been summarily dismissed and other disciplinary proceedings will follow shortly after the Panorama broadcast.”

In a second sting, Vanessa Evans, 43, used a hidden camera to uncover the poor care of her grandmother, Yvonne Grant, at Oban House in Croydon, South London.  In footage taken in December 2012, Ms Grant is seen lying in her bed calling for a nurse 321 times and pleading for the toilet 45 times in just over an hour before anyone checks on her. When a care worker finally arrives, she is told to use her incontinence pad.

Care workers then try to make her walk to the toilet, despite her having been immobile for two years. They eventually drop her roughly back onto her bed, still without having been to the toilet. She was eventually taken to the toilet two and half hours after she first asked for help. Two staff have been convicted of common assault for the treatment of her, though one is appealing.

Ms Grant's granddaughter, Ms Evans, told The Independent: “She used to say 'They're really nice when you're here but as soon as you're gone they're horrible'... There was no bedside manner. She was completely ignored and not spoken to when staff were in the room. On the film, staff were commenting on a bruise she had and noticed she was bleeding from pressure sores that needed a dressing. Five hours later the nurse hadn't put a dressing on.”

“The night staff were washing residents in their beds at five in the morning while they were trying to sleep. It would scare the hell out of her; they'd pull back the covers and start washing her with a flannel. She hated the indignity of it.

“It was so distressing. I was so angry and numb from it. I just couldn't believe what she was being put through.

“It wasn't just one member of staff, there were three occasions where we put the camera in and there were issues each time. There was rough handling. One guy took her to bed when he was supposed to be taking her to the toilet and then back to the day room to watch TV. He just grabbed her ankles and swung her onto the bed. He was laughing when he did it and then he let the door slam and left her in darkness.

“Before she went into that home I looked in quite a few and some I thought were absolutely disgraceful, but this seemed the best of a bad bunch. I've said to my children they've got to put me down before they put me in one of those places. I've got no trust in care homes whatsoever now.”

A spokesperson for HC-One, which owns Oban House, said: “The secret filming that took place in 2012 shows shocking and distressing failings. We do not tolerate this kind of behaviour. We apologised unreservedly to the late Mrs Grant and her family, and we remain deeply sorry for the distress that was caused. This should never have happened.

“As soon as we became aware of the situation we acted immediately to notify the Care Quality Commission, the local Safeguarding Team and the Police. We suspended and later dismissed the staff involved.”

Panorama - Behind Closed Doors: Elderly Care Exposed, airs on Wednesday at nine on BBC One

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments