Minister pledges to 'stamp out' care home abuse

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The government has insisted it is acting to prevent abuse and poor care in residential homes, after being charged by Labour with cutting health services "to the bone".

BBC Panorama filming showed residents at the Old Deanery in Essex being taunted, roughly handled and one was slapped.

Panorama also carried out secret filming at Oban House in Croydon, south London, which resulted in two former staff members being convicted of assault. One is appealing.

The matter was raised in an urgent question on 1 May 2014 by the Labour MP Nick Smith.

He condemned the "contemptible and callous treatment" apparently meted out and said he felt engagement between the Care Quality Commission and patients, residents and their families "could be much better".

Shadow health minister Luciana Berger offered stronger criticism, claiming: "We will never get the standard of care we aspire to from a social care system that has been cut to the bone," and that recent reductions in spending made these scenarios "more likely not less likely".

Care Services Minister Norman Lamb said that the allegations of abuse were "truly disgusting - no-one deserves treatment like that".

He went on to say that "unacceptable practices and abuse and neglect has to be stamped out".

He pointed to steps the government was taking such as enabling the prosecution of directors and corporations running care homes and the introduction of a new offence of ill treatment and wilful neglect.

Philip Lee, a Conservative and doctor, wanted him to recognise that in the "longer term we're going to have to look after our elderly more at home".

Lib Dem former health minister Paul Burstow drew attention to the need for "relationship-based care rather than just care which is about transactions".

The minister agreed that "the state can't do this on its own" and highlighted the role of "openness and transparency" in achieving good practice.

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