Clinical Negligence & Catastrophic Injury Solicitors
Concerns about Cornwall nursing home incidents.
A series of shocking incidents in privately-run residential nursing homes in Cornwall have been secretly filmed by the BBC.
Undercover filming by Panorama showed one nurse saying she will give morphine to a resident "to shut her up", something described by an independent expert as horrifying.
The Panorama team raised safeguarding concerns with the local authority. One of the homes, Clinton House in St Austell, is being closed.
The Morleigh Group, which runs the homes, said it had already identified problems, and that it had always acted quickly to improve care when asked to do so.
The footage was recorded by three journalists, one posed as a resident, the other two got jobs with the company.
Some of the most serious incidents occurred at Clinton House, which has 32 residents. It was given a "requires improvement rating" by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in May 2016.
One of the Panorama team, Janice Finch, posed as a resident at Clinton House and St Theresa's, both part of the Morleigh Group, owned by Steven and Patricia Juleff.
Janice Finch said: "The first thing I noticed at Clinton House was the smell, an overpowering odour of urine. I'm not sure if it was the pressure cushion or the damp chair I was sitting on.
"What I witnessed in both homes was staff run off their feet, trying to cope with the demands of many immobile residents. A visit to the toilet requires two care assistants to work the hoists that lift a person out of their chair and into a wheelchair.
"But try and find two free care assistants, especially at meal times. I watched one lady wait so long to be taken to the toilet that she later confided in me that she had wet herself.
"I spent two weeks in Cornwall, one of the prettiest parts of England. But this was no holiday camp. My whole experience raised serious questions."
As well as announcing the closure of Clinton House, the Morleigh Group suspended one nurse pending an investigation. The group denies that it failed to give proper attention to the quality and safety of residents' care.
In a statement, Cornwall Council, which placed residents at Clinton House, said it was: "sorry that the standard of care provided by Morleigh Group has fallen far short of what residents, their relatives and the general public have a right to expect.”
The local authority added that it was now investigating two more Morleigh Group homes.
The regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), said it had serious concerns with the Morleigh Group for some time, and had issued warning notices.
The CQC's chief inspector of adult social care, Andrea Sutcliffe, said: "We were appalled to have found that the Morleigh Group has allowed the quality of care to decline."