Heart-breaking and tragic cases of abuse against elderly must be reported say council chiefs

editorial image

Heart-breaking cases of abuse against the elderly must be reported, council chiefs are urging Bedford residents.

The appeal to all living in the borough follows BBC’s Panorama programme ‘Behind Closed Doors: Elderly Care Exposed’, which was shown on Wednesday, April 30.

The programme uncovered the shocking abuse of older people in care homes elsewhere in the UK.

Now Bedford Borough Council is asking relatives, friends or staff to report any concerns if they think an older person in care is being harmed, abused or neglected.

This step is being taken to prevent anything of this nature from happening in Bedford Borough, says the council, who will follow-up any safeguarding concerns brought to their attention.

Cllr Colleen Atkins, executive member for adults’ services at the borough council, said: “The Panorama programme exposed heart-breaking instances of abuse. We do our utmost to ensure nothing like that happens here in Bedford borough.

“That is why we are stressing that if you have any concern, no matter how small, please let us know immediately, because we don’t want tragic incidents to happen here.

“Vulnerable people, whether in our care or in private care homes, have a right to expect the staff who are paid to care for them to treat them with dignity, respect, kindness and compassion at all times, whatever the circumstances. “Whistle-blowing policies and procedures must be in place in every registered care setting, so that concerns can be raised and thoroughly followed-up.”

Abuse takes place in many forms including physical, sexual and psychological or emotional mistreatment, neglect acts of omission and discrimination. Institutional abuse happens because of poor care, treatment, management, training or communication which is allowed to continue unchallenged.

Cllr Atkins continued: “There is no greater responsibility than looking after those who are vulnerable and we are passionate in our aim to make sure people are treated with the upmost dignity and respect at all times.

“In Bedford borough, we consider safeguarding to be everyone’s business and we are committed to raising awareness, so that everyone knows it is their duty to act and report it.

“Please help us to improve the lives of vulnerable adults and to prevent abuse.”

If you have any safeguarding concerns, contact the Bedford Safeguarding Adults’ Team on 01234 276222 or www.bedfordboroughpartnership.org.uk/adultsafeguarding

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) can be contacted on 03000 616 161.

Concerns can also be reported by contacting the police on 01582 473077, or in an emergency by calling 999.