Wednesday, 23 January 2019 15:16

Providing Ordinary Lives with Extraordinary Support - How an Effective Whistleblowing Solution can Enhance Safeguarding in Care Home Providers

Safeguarding is the process of protecting people from abuse or neglect and preventing impairment of their health and development. Poor levels of care or mismanagement found in care homes can have dire consequences for care providers when it becomes public knowledge.

Such consequences were recently highlighted in a review in December surrounding the protection of vulnerable adult patients at Muckamore Abbey Hospital in Northern Ireland. The review, commissioned by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT), found that many lives were compromised at the Hospital due to a series of catastrophic failings.

The review stated that patients' families were “distressed and angry”, that nobody intervened to halt the harm and that even the suggestion of patients being harmed was denied and deemed implausible by hospital managers and the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority. Nineteen members of staff have since been suspended.

The review highlighted that no one within the Muckamore Abbey Hospital had intervened to halt the harm that was taking place, no safeguarding referrals were made, and no members of staff had spoken out. Most damning was the accusation of a culture of tolerating harm.

One of the key recommendations in the review highlighted the importance of understanding that "ordinary lives require extraordinary support".

Care home providers across the UK and Ireland are required by law to provide national standards of quality and safety to people they care for and must have an effective procedure for dealing with concerns relating to any forms of wrongdoing.

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 encourage their staff to come forward and speak up.

Care Home providers can achieve this by following some key recommendations:

  • Produce a comprehensive whistleblowing policy whereby the Care Providers expectations about speaking up in relation to any form of wrongdoing is made clear and unambiguous
  • Encourage transparency and shared accountability by ensuring that all concerns raised in the Care Provider are forwarded to key senior representatives
  • Ensure there is comprehensive information about how to raise whistleblowing concerns both at the induction stage for new staff and for existing staff. Training should be provided on a regular basis.
  • Information on how to raise concerns should be promoted across the Care Provider and should be easily accessible on the Care Providers intranet.
  • Provide a safe and supportive environment for raising concerns. Staff may not feel comfortable raising concerns with their internal line-management.

External whistleblowing service providers can provide a safe and supportive environment for Care Providers staff to raise concerns. If you would like further information about implementation of an independent external whistleblowing service to enhance your support and protection for all persons who require care, please follow this link, or alternatively, please contact our sales team on +44(0)1224 625111

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