The government says it is committed to protecting vulnerable
adults, but its actions suggest otherwise. It is consulting on
plans to scrap rules that prevent home care workers, care home and
nursing agency staff working before they have clearance from the
Criminal Records Bureau.
Care home owners had complained they were losing potential
employees because of the three-month wait for an enhanced check
from the CRB.
Meanwhile, new domiciliary care agency staff would be able to work
in an older person’s house alone after just three days’ training.
These proposals offer a loophole waiting to be exploited.
Instead of cutting corners, the government needs to address the
crux of the problem – the CRB itself. Right from the start this
organisation has been dogged by delays and now it looks as though
it could be putting older people in danger.
It is poor timing that the consultation is announced before the
government’s health select committee inquiry hearing into elder
abuse is due to publish its report. Just last week its members were
told that GPs could sign death certificates of older people who
have died in a nursing home without seeing their bodies, so signs
of neglect or abuse could be missed.
If every child matters to the government, shouldn’t every older
person matter too? And if relaxing checks is unacceptable for staff
working with children, it should be unacceptable for those working
with older people.