Mendip House staff 'engaged in cruel behaviour, bullying'
residents were subjected to "cruel behaviour", bullying
and humiliation at a care home near Burnham-On-Sea, a safeguarding
report has revealed this week.
House staff were said to have made one man crawl on all fours, threw
cake at another and used residents' money to buy themselves meals.
of controlling male staff" had dominated the home, the report
said. Five people were eventually dismissed.
House is within the grounds of Somerset Court on the outskirts of
Brent Knoll and Highbridge, and housed six people with autism and
National Autistic Society (NAS), which ran the home, has apologised.
Safeguarding Adults Review found NAS was "primarily responsible
and accountable" for the mistreatment at the home in Highbridge.
home closed down on 31st October 2016 - five months after whistleblowers
contacted the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and safeguarding teams.
review, which was commissioned by Somerset's Safeguarding Adults
Board, says at that point "the scattered knowledge arising
from previous incidents was collated and an incubation of failures
and harmful practices became apparent."
allegations made against staff were that one employee "couldn't
be bothered to take people out because of being on the Playstation",
others being "unaware" a female resident had absconded
and "bullying and disrespectful" behaviour.
were said to have paid for staff meals on days out and almost £10,000
was eventually refunded.
resident was "known to flinch in the presence of particular
employees", another was allegedly made to "crawl around
on all fours".
claim was made that staff threw cake at one resident's head and
"when he requested a biscuit, he was given an onion to eat".
its conclusions the review said: "The staff at Mendip House
engaged in behaviour that was cruel, far below the standard expected."
residents were described as having "complex needs" and
their families had "fought to get a place" for them at
an NAS site, because they believed they would get a specialist service.
emerged that whistleblowers had tried several times to raise concerns
about practices at the home dating back to November 2014.
held its own investigations into allegations of abusive conduct
without alerting the CQC or local authority.
would often resign while those accused "were given warnings
following disciplinaries and retained or recycled within the service",
the report said.
people were eventually dismissed - including the manager and deputy
- but no prosecutions were brought. The six residents were moved
to different facilities when the home closed.
for the home came from Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group and
seven different local authorities - an earlier report suggested
concerns may have been addressed earlier if fewer authorities had
review report recommended changes to the way care placements were
included making clear that local authorities and clinical commissioning
groups must monitor the quality of care of the people for whom they
safeguarding board's chairman Richard Crompton said such reviews
"are not about apportioning blame, they are about making sure
lessons are learned and improvements made".
chief executive Mark Lever repeated the charity's apologies to the
six former residents and their families "for the distress they
said the charity had responded to concerns and acted "to make
sure residents were safe and to investigate what went wrong"
and it was committed to "making sure that the lessons are learned".
Chandler, Director of Adult Services at Somerset County Council,
said: "We responded rapidly and robustly to these allegations,
coordinated the multi-organisational response, taking steps to ensure
the safety of residents in the other homes that made up Somerset
care supports some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
This will have been a traumatic experience for the residents at
Mendip House, their families and loved ones."
is imperative that everyone involved in the care system does everything
they can to make sure they are not put at risk of abuse."
David Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "Cases
like this are thankfully rare and these reviews are carried out
to reduce the chance of them happening in the future."
report makes important recommendations for change that would bring
more clarity on the responsibility for placing authorities to monitor
the care being provided to the people they place. I hope that the
care system well beyond Somerset will learn from the weaknesses
that this review has highlighted."
who is worried about a vulnerable adult should call Adult Social
Care on 0300 123 2224. You can read the full report on the SSAB