Care Home providers across the UK are entrusted to care for the vulnerable and provide national standards of quality and safety required by law. National Standards cover a number of areas such as how patients and persons are treated, the safety and protection of people receiving care and people’s dignity and privacy.
Most persons in the health care industry are honest, ethical and dedicated individuals. However, by the nature of the services that they provide, care home providers are often exposed and susceptible to a wide range of fraud risks from staff employed within their care homes.
Only last month it was widely reported that 2 senior care home managers stole thousands of pounds that was meant for vulnerable residents in their care. Mandy Sargent and Joanne Brownhill, were senior managers at a Sheffield care home, which provided accommodation for adults with moderate to severe learning disabilities.
They were responsible for giving out money held by the NHS on behalf of the residents but falsified and destroyed records in order to take the money for themselves. Police reported that they stole more than £120,000 from 22 residents over seven years. As a result, they were both sentenced to three and half years in prison.
In another recent report, Teressa Luker, a senior manager of a care home in Whitfield, was sent to jail for stealing more than £57,000 from bank accounts of three vulnerable men. She set up various bank accounts in the name of each patient and for two years used the accounts for her own use.
Such incidents often occur in working environments where there is an increased opportunity to commit fraud due to a lack of internal controls and inadequate reporting mechanisms for raising concerns.
Effective vetting of staff employed in care homes is of course, a vital control in the fight to prevent such fraud occurring, particularly with those who are responsible for dealing with vulnerable person’s financial matters. However, further fraud controls including provision of an effective whistleblowing policy, is necessary to deal with the threat to vulnerable persons in this service industry.
In the UK, care home providers appear to be heeding these warnings by increasingly seeking the services of specialised external whistleblowing providers to encourage care staff, including those that they care for, to raise concerns. Disclosures to a whistleblowing service provider can cover a wide range of concerns including the safety of patients or people who use services, the failure of a provider to comply with the law or the national standards of quality and safety, financial malpractice or risks to staff or other people.
Care Home Providers who invest in an external whistleblowing service will enhance their ability to meet national standards of quality and safety required by law, and at the same time decrease the likelihood of enforcement action from regulated bodies who may determine unacceptable risk of poor care.
If you would like a cost effective quote for our external and independent whistleblowing service please follow this link and provide the requested information or alternatively please contact Sean McAuley, the SeeHearSpeakUp Senior Fraud Service Manager by contacting him directly on 01224 049449.