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Old folk locked up, sensors switched off ... and nobody’s caring
Douglas Walker and Kenny Angove - The Scottish Sun - 1st October 2012
Care home workers switched off safety buzzers because they were sick of being disturbed by the vulnerable residents, it was claimed last night.
The four female staff members reportedly locked frail pensioners in their rooms so they could sleep during their shift.
It’s said they even turned off vital motion sensors meant to protect patients with Alzheimer's — but were rumbled when inspectors made a snap visit to the Torbrae Care Home in Castlemilk, Glasgow.
Last night a source said: “The women said they were fed up with the buzzer going off.
“The staff were moaning that the residents were always after something or other.
“They decided to just switch the buzzers off so that they could have a cup of tea or a kip if they fancied it in peace.
“But the word is the bosses got wind of this — they were paid a surprise visit and caught in the act.
“It’s scandalous, the bosses were absolutely raging.
“The emergency sensors could mean life or death for the residents if they fell and needed help.”
Four workers were suspended after allegedly being caught during a surprise evening spot-check.
The official visit came after the £615-a-week home had been blasted in a scathing report by the Care Inspectorate in June.
It saw the quality of management and leadership given the lowest possible grade of one, which is deemed “unsatisfactory”.
Categories for ‘quality of care’, ‘quality of environment’ and ‘quality of staffing’ all got a score of two, which is judged as “weak”.
Last night a spokesman for the Care Commission said: “An unannounced inspection was carried out on in the evening.
“A number of issues of concern were found by the inspectors and we are continuing to investigate the matters raised.”
Since 2007, there have been 28 individual complaints about Torbrae on issues from general healthcare and welfare to staff shortages.
Commenting on the latest revelations, Scottish Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said: “The elderly, many of whom are the most vulnerable in our society, deserve to be given the highest care possible.
“But it appears in this case there were several major failings.
“It is vital a full investigation is carried out to find out what went wrong here and what lessons need to be learned.” A spokesman for Age Scotland added: “We hope the people responsible are taken to task. This is very worrying — these are crimes against old people.
“If there had been a fire it could have had tremendous consequences.
“The Care Inspectorate has really beefed up its regime, which is very good. Problems are being found.”
A spokesperson for Torbrae last night confirmed four members of staff have been suspended.
They added: “These practices are totally unacceptable.
“A rigorous internal investigation is under way and external agencies are satisfied we are handling the matter correctly.
“We are working closely with the regulator and are utilizing the feedback to deliver an action plan, which is already in progress.”
In January 2004, 14 elderly residents died after a fire broke out at the Rosepark care home in Uddingston, South Lanarkshire, and ripped through the building.
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