Cruel world

The events in Bristol must be a source of shame and disgust to us all. I make no attempt to condone the actions of these appalling people but it got me wondering. If you take the conditions in that “hospital” must we fear similar events in the NHS?

A national company set up for profit, where workers seldom if ever meet the bosses, work long hours and are poorly paid, is it just Castlebeck or is this the future of the NHS?

Lack of support, control and training can affect the morale of workers leaving them embittered and shattering their self esteem.

I once heard a nurse jokingly (I hope) remark that “this job would be okay if it weren’t for the patients”

When demoralised staff begin to view those in their care as “The Problem” then resentment and bitterness can take over.

I stress again I am not trying to defend these people and I hope their prison sentences are long, although Ken Clarke would probably prefer community sentences. That’s a thought now, what service could these evil people do to the community? I just think that where money is the basis for all care I hope never to get sick.

PS This is the link to the Care Quality Commission inspection reports on Winterbourne View

10 thoughts on “Cruel world

  1. I would like to add that lack of training and poor working conditions should not be an easy excuse for care staff or nurses to use as reason to systematically abuse patients with learning disabilities, as in this Unit.

    Also I suggest – if this was a dogs home and cruelty such as this inflicted on animals; there would be a far greater response from the public than in the cases where abuse of people with learning disabilities occurs and is highlighted

  2. I agree with you Marie – poor working conditions are not the cause of systematic abuse of vulnerable people. The cause of this is the ritualisation of unskilled, untrained, unthinking support workers by those in a position of influence (with no ability or willingness to reflect on the consequences of their actions) into a world of abuse and power over those they purport to care for. This ritualisation shapes the behaviours and actions of new staff looking for acceptance into the organisation and perpetuates these obscene practices until it becomes a pattern of behaviour that is no longer seen as inappropriate by the individuals who practice them.

  3. At a local level the individuals concerned are responsible for their actions but it’s too easy to just blame them.
    As a country we want to provide ‘care’ as cheaply as possible. Note too that this home was built in an industrial park – no doubt people would have objected to it being built by their homes!
    As long as we run things like this then we will continue to see these problems arising – does anyone really believe that this is an isolated case?

  4. No Andy I don’t believe that this is an isolated case. As I said originally my fear is that it will spread to the NHS. Fiona I think that your understanding of the institutionalisation of people and their struggle to fit in supports this. I wonder how a newly qualified staff nurse would feel. These people probably instill as much fear in them as they do their clients.

  5. Simon,
    Castlebeck is unfortunately just the tip of the ice-berg within this chaotic mixed market economy – When MacIntyre Undercover in 1999 released the expose into Care Homes in Learning Disability,this programme hastened the release of “Valuing People”. Prior to this “Silent Minority” in 1981 (The International Year for Disabled People) provoked Public Opinion and where resources were markedly made available – but the message is quite clear. How many Inquiries do we need to have to make significant difference in how vulnerability is addressed? I wonder if under “Agenda for Action” back in 1988 where would we be now if Sir Roy Griffiths’ proposals were implemented in recommending a Minister for Community Care – how different perhaps the Care Sector would be?

  6. I was as shocked and disgusted as, I expect, everyone else who watched this programme last night was.
    However, as a soon to be qualified Learning Disability Nurse, I was also scared and fearful. At a time when we should be full of energy and high hopes, we, as students, are instead petrified of being thrown into this kind of situation.
    It terrifys me that I have seen possible job opportunities in Castlebeck and considered applying for them.

    I am aware of the injustice that people with Learning Disabilities have suffered and still suffer. I have witnessed it first hand during clinical placement. I can only describe what occurs within groups of staff as ‘gang’ like. The culture that becomes the norm within the staff team is horrendous.

    I totally agree with Fiona, the lack training and proper leadership is a big part of the cause of this abuse of power and trust.

    I would like to believe that the students in my group and myself have been trained to the highest standard and that our moral integrity would not allow us to stand by while this behaviour was occuring under our supervision.

  7. These abuses are horrendous but alarmingly the more subtle abuses that occur on our hospital wards and in care homes for our elderly, mentally ill and learning disability service users seem to be ignored, not even noticed.

    The comments above support this notion of cultural norms!!! how scary is that – a cultural norm to be cruel to others, to ignore others, leave food out of reach, and so on…?

    However whistle blowing is no easy thing as one of our ex students recalled to me recently. This person feels that they are always fighting an up hill battle. Forever the brunt of staff cold shoulders and feelings of isolation.
    It is very difficult for an individual to keep on whistle blowing and trying to change things for their clients when they are alone and unsupported.
    Fighting the system is how this person described it. Very near to burn out i think!

    Only a day later and the whole topic of abuse of these service users is no longer a news item.

  8. Watching this programme the other night brought me to tears. Completely terrifying, abhorrent and repulsive. Just as Jenny, about to qualify as a learning disabilities nurse, I pray that we and the other students going through this process will ensure every person who is coming into contact with anyone we care for upholds the same values and ethics as us.

    These people have had their human rights tossed to one side; not only by the support workers, but the nurses and the very people who stand to protect and govern – the CQC.

    The sad thing is that this is already yesterday’s news, as Marie has said. It is so very important that we never give up the battle of making sure the vulnerable people in our society are cared for with the dignity and respect that they deserve.

  9. I’ve worked in the field of Learning Disabilities from a young age and can say it was very scary seeing events like those broadcast on monday night happening in practice. Now that I am a student nurse I feel I should have done more about what I saw, however as Marie said whistleblowing is no easy task, and especially as a new member of staff you are constantly told that’s just how we do it, you’ll get used to it.

    I did not want to become part of this, as you quite rightly said Jenifier ‘Gang like’ culture, the only way out for me was to qualify as a nurse so I knew I was doing right. I feel that I have failed the young people that I worked with by leaving them, knowing I done all I could for them is no comfort.

    Terry done an amazing job of bringing it to the attention of the world media and I admire him for not giving up. Nevertheless it was on tv for an hour and will no be unheard of, sadly until another horrific incident happens.

    Why is there a need for an incident to happen before action is sometimes taken…Should a person have to die for others to be saved, could they not have all been saved…We live in a sad society.

  10. As Marie says this is now old news. It’s up to us to say NO. What are the NMC doing about this? Investigating a couple of staff? It’s time the Government reviewed it’s policies on the open market on care. Let’s have a whistle blowing site on the NMC site that does not ask scared nurses to go through their line management first. Give the CQC teeth to fine companies that allow this treatment until their bank balances squeak. Rant nearly over, David Cameron if you truly believe in a real NHS service let’s have a national inquiry into care for the most vulnerable in our society.

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