A staff member has been fired and seven more suspended at an Essex care home after a BBC Panorama investigation found residents being neglected and mistreated.
A undercover reporter for the documentary programme filmed one woman with dementia who was mocked by staff at The Old Deanery Care Home and slapped by one worker at the 93-bed Braintree home.
Another resident with a terminal illness who needed the toilet was ignored despite her cries for assistance and one man with a chronic illness was left lying in his own excrement.
In a statement, the home, which is run by Anglia Retirement Homes, said: “We are shocked and saddened by allegations made by the BBC’s Panorama programme of inappropriate behaviour by some members of staff at The Old Deanery Care Home and apologise unreservedly for those failings.
“These incidents involved a small number of staff and are not reflective of the high standards of care which we expect and demand from all of our team. As soon as the new management team was made aware of the allegations we took immediate action.
“We hired an independent law firm to carry out a full investigation as a matter of urgency. Eight staff were immediately suspended, and have not returned to work, pending a full inquiry.
“The care worker responsible for slapping a resident has been summarily dismissed and other disciplinary proceedings will be completed shortly.”
Andrea Sutcliffe, the chief inspector of adult social care at the CQC, said: “The care shown in the Panorama programme is unacceptable. My sympathy goes out to the people affected. I am angry that the good care we know is provided is undermined when people are failed in this way.”
“We have been concerned about the Old Deanery and its sister care home, St Mary’s Court, for some time. We have responded to concerns raised by staff. We have checked up on both homes regularly. We have told the provider to make improvements.”
“We cannot always know what goes on behind closed doors but I am determined that our new inspection approach will strengthen our ability to uncover poor care and take action when we need to.”
The CQC inspected the Old Deanery on 26 February in response to concerns about the welfare and safety of service users that had led to safeguarding action by the local authority.
It found the service was not meeting standards on the sufficiency of staffing or the care and welfare of residents, though standards on service user involvement, responding to complaints and supporting staff were met.
The regulator concluded that “people’s privacy, dignity and independence were respected” at the home, but raised concerns about the quality of care planning, unacceptably long waits for call bells to be answered and a lack of suitably skilled staff.