Essex: More than 6,500 allegations of abuse of elderly people in county’s care homes
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There have been more than 6,500 allegations of abuse of elderly people in care homes in Essex over the past three years, figures have revealed.
According to statistics released under Freedom of Information laws, a total of 6,657 separate allegations were raised in relation to adults aged 65 and over in care homes between June 2010 and June 2013.
There were 851 care homes across Essex that had a safeguarding alert raised against them during the same period.
The largest area concerned the neglect of residents, with 2,831 allegations made, while there were 1,736 physical and 675 financial and material complaints.
There were also 314 complaints of a sexual nature, 567 psychological and emotional allegations and 242 medical complaints.
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Sheila Scott, chief executive of the National Care Association, believes the number of allegations is down to older people having the confidence to complain, knowing their worries will be listened to.
She added: “Although it seems an alarming number of complaints, I hope that people are reassured that Essex County Council and the service providers themselves take those matters very, very seriously.
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“I do think there is an increasing confidence in bringing these issues to the fore, which is absolutely right.”
Although all care homes in Essex are privately run the figures have been released by the county council.
A spokesman for the authority welcomed the increase in the number of complaints. “It indicates that the public and professionals are not prepared to tolerate what they perceive as abuse or poor care practices,” he said.
Of the 6,657 allegations, 557 were resolved by case management, 788 were inconclusive and 115 were redirected to another agency.
There were 1,331 fully substantiated allegations, 575 partly substantiated and 1,333 unsubstantiated, while there has been “no outcome” in 1,744 of cases.
“No outcome” includes cases that are still being investigated, waiting for decisions from agencies including the police and Crown Prosecution Service and waiting for paperwork to be completed.
The county council spokesman added: “Essex encourages people, through such arenas as the AskSal telephone helpline, to share their concerns and allow us to then look at those issues to see if they are safeguarding matters or are issues that need re-directing elsewhere such as the complaints process, the police or Environmental Health for example.
“We believe that the people of Essex are informed and more aware about safeguarding and we will continue to encourage their active engagement in raising issues that concern them.”