Whistleblowing by care home staff up 66% during COVID-19, research finds

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Whistleblowing by care home staff has increased by 66% during the coronavirus pandemic, new research has found.

The research by the Daily Express reveals that carers made 2,043 complaints to the CQC between 1 March and 21 May, or 25 a day, compared with 1,230 complaints in the prior year period.

Safeguarding grievances about alleged abuse and improper treatment fell, however, totalling 2,945, or 36 a day, down from 44 a day in 2019.

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The CQC said its national contact centre received 2,612 calls from adult social care staff received 2,612 calls from adult social care staff about concerns between 2 March and 31 May, up 55% on 1,685 in the previous year.

Almost a third of calls (32%) related to infection control or social distancing, 26% to a lack of PPE or other infection control equipment, and 4% concerned care quality.

Former minister Baroness Altmann said the “shocking rise” in whistleblowing complaints was “clear evidence” of a “broken social care system”.

Jayne Connery, founder and director of Care Campaign for the Vulnerable, said she was “saddened” but not surprised by the rise in complaints. Jayne said the corresponding fall in safeguarding reporting was because local authorities and the CQC were not visiting care homes.

Kate Terroni, the CQC’s chief inspector of adult social care, said: “It’s in everyone’s interests that staff are able to speak up freely and are not prevented from raising their concerns about quality and safety – and all providers have a responsibility to support their staff to share concerns safely without fear of reprisal.

“Staff have been going to extraordinary lengths to deliver good, safe care during this global crisis – if they are experiencing barriers to the delivery of that care, we want to hear from them and we are encouraged that so many staff have been brave enough to raise concerns with us.”


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The author Lee Peart

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