Leaked data from the NHS Information Centre reveals that from October 2009 to March 2010, social care departments received 40,000 formal complaints about abuse of vulnerable adults. (Financial Times, 13 June)
More than 8,600 claims were substantiated, in a survey covering 80% of councils. So probably 10,000-plus vulnerable adults have been abused over a six month period — that’s 55 adults a day.
A quarter of the claims involved adults with learning disabilities, and another quarter people aged 85 or over.
A third of all claims involved physical abuse, and others psychological abuse, misuse of medication, financial abuse (such as pressure to change wills and theft) and sexual abuse.
One-third of complaints took place in a care home. 25% of complaints were made about unqualified care workers, at a time when social care, already chronically under-funded, is facing a fresh waves of cuts. Many universities and further education colleges are closing their Social and Health Care courses.
Gary Fitzgerald, chief executive of Action on Elder Abuse, criticised the coalition’s “retrograde step” of scrapping plans to regulate care workers.