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More care homes banning relatives who complain, charity warns

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A charity has warned it is seeing more examples of care homes banning residents who complain about the treatment of their loved ones.

Chair Judy Downey of the Relatives and Residents Association (R&RA) (pictured) told the Express she was seeing at least one case a week of families being banned from care homes and warned the problem was getting worse.

“We are coming into contact with an increasing number of people who are banned or restricted after complaining about a care home,” Judy said.

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“Most are too afraid to speak out in case of further repercussions on loved ones. We believe the cases that come to us are the tip of the iceberg.”

Judy said the charity was sending a dossier to the CQC and demanding action be taken.

The news comes after the Express exposed the practice of care homes evicting residents whose families complain (see Campaigner blasts ‘morally bankrupt’ care home evictions).

Debbie Westhead, interim chief inspector of adult social care at the CQC, said: “It is essential that people feel able to raise concerns about the care their loved ones are receiving. We must never forget that care homes are people’s homes and those living there should feel supported to live a full and happy life.

“Good providers know this and we see plenty of excellent practice where providers respond with a positive and open attitude to complaints that are made; unfortunately we are aware that this is not everyone’s experience, with reports of visiting restrictions and people being asked to leave.”

Debbie said the CQC took the issue “extremely seriously” and urged people to share their experiences with the regulator and the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

The interim chief inspector said that while the CQC did not have the power to resident evictions it had taken “action against providers for the benefit of those using services and will continue to do so when appropriate”.

Debbie said the CQC was currently updating its visitor rights guidance to ensure that people were fully informed of their rights and felt able to voice concerns.

Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, said: “There are 490,000 residents in care and over one million visitors. This is a relatively small problem, though obviously not for those people affected.”

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The author Lee Peart

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