A FORMER Cwmbran senior support worker has been jailed after admitting stealing £5,670 from vulnerable adults in her care. Karen Moore, 40, of Brendon Hill, Somerset, appeared in Newport Crown Court after pleading guilty to three theft charges relating to her time working at CPI Care’s supported accomodation on Roll’s Close, Cwmbran.
Moore was a senior support worker at the facility between 2005 and 2008, where she helped four adults with learning difficulties, controlling their financial affairs, taking money out of their accounts and paying outgoings.
It was after Moore had left the position and moved to Somerset that the deception came to light in June 2010 and she was arrested and interviewed by police in Minehead. Prosecutor Hywel Hughes said CPI Care found unexplained cash deposits made by Moore, with the overall loss greater than £5,670, but this is the amount that was provable.
In interview, Moore told officers she struggles with figures and made up sheets to make cash tally, while Mr Hughes said she made withdrawals to pay off her own debts.
Judge David Morris called it a “tragedy” that someone of Moore’s intelligence and background was in front of him for him for such offences. He said she had breached a position of trust repeatedly and gave her concurrent terms of 14 months for each offence. DC Sarah Garland of Gwent Police’s protection of vulnerable adults team said: “She had a position of trust helping people live independent lives. She abused this position, so a custodial sentence is fair.
The scandal of vulnerable adults being abused at Winterbourne House highlights safeguarding gaps following the Panorama expose. The National Autistic Society (NAS) has submitted a 10,000 strong petition to Parliament asking for urgent action to address the failings in the current system of inspection of adult care services. John Pugh, MP for Stockport and Co. Chair of the Liberal Democrat Committee on Health and Social Care, presented the petition calling upon the Government to review the inspection process for vulnerable adults living in residential care. It asks for the following points to be addressed:
- All organisations must create working cultures where abuse is unacceptable and clear polices and procedures are in place to report abuse and wrongdoing.
- It is vital that individuals working in adult social care have the right attitude to work with vulnerable adults and that they are trained in safeguarding and managing challenging behaviour
- Robust and rigorous recruitment procedures are essential.
- Specific on-the-job training should be regularly assessed and refreshed.
- Staff must have relevant and specific knowledge of the disabilities they are dealing with to help support individuals appropriately.
Commenting, Carol Povey, Director of NAS Centre for Autism, said: “It is completely unacceptable that any form of abuse by support staff takes place in any care service. It is deeply distressing that these vulnerable adults have been treated so diabolically and the strength of support for urgent action is palpable. In less than two weeks the NAS received over 10,000 signatures to the petition.
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.
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’