Category: Health

Updated definition of Regulated Activity for Adults

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November 2, 2012 5:49 am

From 10 September 2012, the definition of regulated activity related to ‘vulnerable adults’ will change. The Department of Health has published information on the scope of regulated activity in relation to adults: link here: Regulated Activity (adults)

Regulated activities are the activities that the Independent Safeguarding Authority can bar people from doing. It is a criminal offence for a barred person to seek to work, or work in, activities from which they are barred. It is also a criminal offence for employers or voluntary organisations to knowingly employ a barred person in regulated activity.

Regulated Activity (adults) sets out the scope of the barring regime for adults from 10 September 2012. For people who work in these roles the Criminal Records Bureau can provide an Enhanced Criminal Records Certificate with information about whether the individual is barred from working in regulated activity.

Some of the changes were made by secondary legislation – links available here:
• The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/2112)
• The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups (Miscellaneous Provisions) Order 2012 (SI 2012/2113)

Equality and Human Rights Commission join debate about elderly care

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November 23, 2011 10:19 pm

The debate about the care of vulnerable adults, in particular the elderly, is intensifying. A year-long inquiry by The Equality and Human Rights Commission into standards of care for the elderly at home has uncovered “appalling” evidence of pensioners being deprived of food and drink, handled roughly, humiliated and even robbed.   Many incidents amounted to “abuses of human rights”, which left elderly people feeling profoundly depressed, in tears and even expressing “a desire to die”, the report said. Many care workers often spend just 15 minutes with an elderly person, ticking off pre-arranged “tasks” in an approach that displayed “chronic disregard” for their dignity.

In one case, an elderly blind man said two council carers were talking to each other over his head, leaving him feeling like “a lump of meat”. In another, a 76-year-old woman with advanced cancer was told her care worker could not prepare her a microwave meal because of “health and safety” rules.   Baroness Greengross, the commissioner responsible for the report, told The Daily Telegraph that 250,000 vulnerable pensioners in England were receiving “poor or very poor” standards of care at home…but the true figure may be far higher because many are “too frightened to complain”, she said. Continue reading 'Equality and Human Rights Commission join debate about elderly care'»

BMA Guidance on whistleblowing and suspected abuse

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August 3, 2011 3:19 pm

The British Medical Association (BMA) has issued new guidance for doctors regarding the treatment of vulnerable patients, stating that healthcare professionals have a duty to flag up any suggestion of abuse.  It also explains the procedures if they suspect that physical and mental abuse of vulnerable adults by NHS staff or carers is being covered up. 

The Guidance was commissioned by the Department of Health, and highlights the legislation in place to protect people if they choose to speak out about possible neglect.  Dr Tony Calland, chairman of the BMA’s Medical Ethics Committee, noted that the guidance is there to support doctors and understand which adults have the capacity to protect their own interests.  “The way doctors deal with these possible situations demonstrates how complex caring for vulnerable adults can be. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution,” he added.

GPs should be alert to identifying abusers, spotting systemic healthcare failures and recognising signs of neglect, ranging from physical and mental abuse to financial exploitation.  Whistle-blowing may involve providing information to the media or MPs. and the individual is protected as long as it is reasonable, not made for gain and meets the following conditions:

  • Whistle-blowers reasonably believe they would be victimised if they raised the matter internally or with a prescribed regulator
  • They believe a cover-up is likely and there is no prescribed regulator
  • They have already raised the matter internally or with a prescribed regulator.’

A poll of 290 GPs, carried out by Pulse in July 2011, found that 41% believe one or more of their patients has been subjected to abuse.

Whistleblowing in Health & Social Care

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July 27, 2011 3:28 pm
Whistleblowing in Health and Social Care settings will be under close scrutiny as former health secretary Stephen Dorrell, chairman of the Health Select Committee, announces that there will be a parliamentary inquiry into claims that NHS ‘whistleblowers’ who reveal poor standards of care in the health service are being ostracised and even having their careers ruined.

At the same time, the committee has accused the General Medical Council (GMC) of putting people at risk by not stamping out sub-standard practices in the health service. In a report the committee said: “Some of the decisions made by fitness-to-practise panels of the GMC defy logic and go against the core task of the GMC in maintaining the confidence of its stakeholders. Furthermore, they put the public at risk of poor medical practice.”
Continue reading 'Whistleblowing in Health & Social Care'»

BBC Panorama – Undercover Care

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June 2, 2011 5:51 am

31 May – BBC Panorama’s Undercover Care: The Abuse Exposed The BBC filmed abuse of patients with learning difficulties at Winterbourne View residential hospital in Bristol.  During five weeks spent filming undercover, BBC Panorama’s reporter captured footage of some of the hospital’s most vulnerable patients being repeatedly pinned down, slapped, dragged into showers while fully clothed, taunted and teased.

The case has been condemned as “shocking” by the government and Care Services Minister Paul Burstow said he was determined to strengthen safeguards for vulnerable adults. He has already ordered a thorough examination of the roles of the government regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and the local authorities. CQC chairman Dame Jo Williams admitted that the failure to follow up the reports of a whistleblower – a senior nurse at the home – had been an “unforgivable error of judgement”. Avon and Somerset police confirmed three men – aged 42, 30 and 25 – and a 24-year-old woman were arrested as part of their investigation into the hospital. The hospital’s owners, Castlebeck, have apologised and suspended 13 employees. It has launched an internal investigation into its whistle-blower procedures and is reviewing the records of all 580 patients in 56 facilities. Winterbourne View can accommodate 24 patients and is taxpayer-funded, charging the state an average of £3,500 per patient per week.

The programme was broadcast on BBC One on Tuesday 31 May at 2100 BST and is available to view in the UK on the BBC iPlayer.

Bill to build awareness of abuse of elderly people

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May 23, 2011 8:43 pm

A Bill to promote awareness of abuse of elderly people  entitled ‘Support and Protection for Elderly People and Adults at Risk of Abuse Bill 2010-11’ has been introduced under the Ten Minute Rule motion by Nigel Dodd MP.

It is expected to scheduled to have its Second Reading debate on 21 October 2011.  It’s objectives are:

  •  to promote awareness of abuse of elderly people and adults at risk,
  • to promote training on how to recognise and respond to such abuse amongst those who are likely to encounter abuse in the course of their work,
  • to promote greater awareness and understanding of the rights of victims of abuse amongst agencies with responsibilities for providing, arranging, commissioning, monitoring and inspecting care services,
  • to promote the development of local strategies for preventing abuse of elderly people and adults at risk and for ensuring that victims are assisted in recovering from the effects of abuse’

Your chance to be heard

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February 25, 2011 1:11 pm

The Protection of Freedoms Bill is the first time that a new element called a “Public Reading Stage” will be introduced.  It means that members of the public can comment directly on clauses of the Bill. These comments should contribute to the points made by MPs across all parties during the debates and committee stages – so it is an important opportunity.  

The website can be found here – http://publicreadingstage.cabinetoffice.gov.uk  – do add your perspectives with practical examples from your sector as this a very complex area which has been subject to  sweeping misrepresentation in the media.  Since only very low level stakeholder engagement is likely this is the best opportunity to amend some aspects of the legislation such as the availability of disclosures, scope of regulated activity and the level of guidance available. 

Also register with us so that you receive our briefing papers on each of these topics and more.

TV campaign about vulnerable adult abuse

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February 12, 2011 9:06 pm

South Lanarkshire Council has joinedwith 13 other councils to produce a TV campaign that they hope will offer hope to thousands of Scottish adults who suffer verbal, physical, sexual and financial abuse every day.  It follows research carried out by Mencap, the charity for people with learning disabilities and their families, which found that 90per cent of people with learning disabilities reported being bullied in the last year.

Charity Action on Elder Abuse, recently revealed that property and cash worth nearly £8million, including 31 homes, had been stolen from UK pensioners in just one 12 month period. The figures were generated from 471 calls to the charity’s helpline. Continue reading 'TV campaign about vulnerable adult abuse'»

Reduced CRB regime announced

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February 11, 2011 8:50 am
Details of the new Criminal Records regime will be announced today as part of the all encompassing Protection of Freedoms Bill.  Points that are likely to emerge  when it is published are:
  •  The need for checks to be drastically reduced to ‘common sense’ levels -now it will only apply to those who have the most close and regular contact with children or vulnerable adults, such as professional childcare workers or teachers.  The total number who will need to undergo background checks will halve to around 4.5million, although who this includes does not appear to have been defined judging from the  interview given by Nick Clegg his morning on BBC.  
  • Continual updating and portability will be enabled so that teachers and care home workers who do require checks will have their records constantly updated.  This is seen as a key benefit and was already planned in by CRB.
  • The content of CRBs will be reviewed  – for instance the changes will also drastically cut the use of ‘soft intelligence’ when examining a person’s history. Unproven allegations will only be placed on a person’s record if a Chief Constable believes they are true.
  • Checks that are unnecessary and which breach an employee’s privacy could be referred to the data protection watchdog, the Information Commissioner, and any employer found knowingly to have requested an unlawful check could face fines running to thousands of pounds.  This will prevent the over zealous use of CRBs such as the school in Warrington that would not be allowed into the premises to see their children.
  • the Independent Safeguarding Authority will be merged with the Criminal Records Bureau. Continue reading 'Reduced CRB regime announced'»

Reaction to VBS & CRB changes

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February 6, 2011 3:24 pm

On BBC News, Mark Williams-Thomas a ex-policeman and specialist in child safeguarding gave the following interview:



Click to play

See also our page tracking  stakeholder comments

CRB & ISA to merge into new body

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February 5, 2011 9:32 am

An article in the Telegraph pre-empts the announcement about the results of the criminal records regime review by Sunita Mason and the parallel one into the Vetting & Barring Scheme. Headline: “An anti-paedophile vetting scheme that would have involved nine million adults will be ripped up next week in a major reworking of how background checks are conducted.” Continue reading 'CRB & ISA to merge into new body'»

Munro report criticises Ofsted approach

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February 1, 2011 12:27 pm

The interim report on child protection by Eileen Munro has been published today. It signals a new approach which will focus on helping children rather than on regulations, inspections and procedures.  The areas for reform in the interim report include:

RCN challenges ISA

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January 31, 2011 2:23 pm

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is supporting three nurses to launch a major test case against the Government in the European Court, following a High Court ruling last year.  The nurses were automatically barred from working by the ISA  following cautions. If successful, the action could mean that the government was liable for significant compensation payouts. Continue reading 'RCN challenges ISA'»

Health & Social Care Bill brings fundamental change

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January 19, 2011 9:58 pm

Continue reading 'Health & Social Care Bill brings fundamental change'»