Whistleblower blasts care home as deal axed

A whistleblower has made shocking claims of abuse and malpractice after a care provider had its contract withdrawn by the council.

Monday, 21st August 2017, 10:22 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:26 pm
Cranleigh Court
Cranleigh Court

The former employee of Caring Alternatives Ltd made a series of unsettling allegations about staff misconduct at two of the firm’s sites in Cranleigh Court and College House in Atherton.

They reported witnessing many instances of bad practice including financial and verbal abuse, and wrongly placing GPS trackers on service users, who were being treated for mental health and learning disabilities, and whose ages ranged between late twenties to mid-fifties.

The authority today confirmed that has pulled the plug on its dealing with the company.

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The whistleblower, who wished to remain anonymous, handed in their resignation after multiple attempts to warn bosses about the most serious safeguarding issues “fell on deaf ears”.

“There was verbal abuse, clients would be shouted at and spoken to inappropriately,” the former staff member claimed.

“There were a couple of staff members I knew who had a disciplinary for their conduct towards service users. It wasn’t a caring environment at all.”

They also reported incidents of financial abuse, with money going missing from clients’ savings.

“Every resident had a money tin, and money would go missing from them, but it was never investigated.

“The manager would just replace the money but they never tried to find who had taken it. On one occasion I noticed £160 had gone. They swept that under the carpet.”

It was also alleged that one client had a tracker placed on them to see where they were going, which is not uncommon for patients with mental health issues.

However, such a practice is not allowed without permission from a local authority, something which the former employee said Caring Alternatives did not apply for.

The whistleblower had worked at the home for several years, but quit earlier this year after growing frustrated at the lack of response to their concerns.

“Over a period of about 16 months, I noted things like this being swept under the carpet. As time went on I started bringing things up, but it fell on deaf ears.

“I decided enough was enough. I handed in my resignation and told the council about them.”

The whisteblower went on to state: “They weren’t following correct procedures at all.

“They picked and chose what they wanted to safeguard, and their general attitude towards service users was bad.

“They were very restrictive around daily care needs.

“I felt they were more about profit than delivering care.”

Andrea Glasspell, Wigan Council’s service manager for provider management said: “We can confirm that we no longer commission supported living services from Caring Alternatives.

“We are unable to comment further at this stage.”

It is believed that a new care provider called Caretech UK has been granted the vacant contract.

Caring Alternative were approached for comment but did not respond.

Cranleigh Court, on High Street in Atherton, was officially opened in 2009 by the then Leigh MP Andy Burnham.