Edit via my friend Anna:
The Learning Disability Coalition are asking people to write to their MP asking for better social care for disabled people, following this prog. Link is here, it’s v easy peasy, write your name and click a button: http://e-activist.com/ea-campaign/clientcampaign.do?ea.client.id=78&ea.campaign.id=10764
We were asked to watch this by our lecturer. I have spent the past hour bawling my eyes out and shaking with rage. Who needs torture porn like Saw when actual torture is being inflicted upon vulnerable people across the country? Where a patient with a learning disability and personality disorder who has been sexually abused is assaulted in her bed, then dragged from it. She tried to jump out of a window later that day- we don’t see that, we see her curled and desperate on the floor, howling. While the staff goad her, asking if she’s make a splat and open the window wider. Where a woman with a learning disability is showered fully clothed, then dragged into the outside in March with water jugs poured over her until she shakes. It will fucking haunt me watching her on her floor, now lost in distress and shaking with terror and confusion, as they cover her in more water and slap her in the face with gloves. And a friendly man with the mental age of four being slapped, punched and treated like circus entertainment by the mooing, gloating staff.
I have nothing reasonable to say about this right now, and part of me wishes that I had never seen this. Robert worked as a carer for years and was ostracised for reporting abuse. I found that hard to listen to. And this was watching and was horrific. And feeling voyeuristic as the families cry while watching footage, while Simone shouts, “Mum!” as she’s being tortured. It is a Panorama documentary comprised of undercover footage at the Winterbourne hospital for vulnerable adults being abused-fucking disgustingly- by their unqualified, untrained, inhuman carers who I hope, as a result of this investigation, go to prison for assault, battery and attempted murder. How can another human being- one who is EMPLOYED to care- debase another so much? It is fucking revolting. I cannot think about it for more than a minute because a life, boiling down to that, and being powerless, is too fucking much to bear. I can understand why people turn away but it doesn’t make it right to do so.
This makes me fucking wonder why I want to go into a caring profession. In this documentary, the majority of the abuse is carried out by the support workers, but staff nurses colluded with them. How can I go into a profession in which these things are, “regrettable”? Where people have burned out and hardened or just fallen into it because that was expected of them, or because they wanted to avoid university fees? I know, from experience, how many wonderful nurses there are. And I know, from experience, how many power-tripping, couldn’t-give-a-fuck ones there are, and in the NHS, it’s almost impossible to be sacked. They just shuffle shit staff around. If you are a shit nurse, or a shit support worker, you should be sacked like you would be for any other job.
As for carers, they should have more formal training and be paid a decent salary. Caring and nursing are two of the most privileged and powerful jobs there are- you are responsible for peoples’ wellbeing and dignity. There is no bigger responsibility than that. And yet, with shit pay for carers, they’re employed on the cheap and some people go into care jobs because they can’t get a job elsewhere. And some may be amazing at it, and just naturally caring people. But it’s well known that care homes are hit and miss due to shit management and demotivated, uncaring staff. That is not right. And there is rabble about how degree educating nurses makes them less caring and more bureaucratic, but it remains to be seen. It’s usually opined by reactionary twats who yearn for the days of Matron and Sir and Madam, and who blame the education system for lowering in standards of care, and not the understaffing of wards meaning its a challenge to properly care for patients.
This care home was a privately run one- to the tune of £3500 a week a patient. Which could have been spent on employing some home support for the patient and their families. There is little regulation for these types of homes. A nurse who worked there took his detailed concerns to the useless, useless, useless Care Quality Commission. He was ignored- no action was taken. Panorama confront the regional director of the CQC. He sits, toothless and beige and shows not one glint of remorse beyond arse-covering management speak. REGRETTABLE. You mite-hearted fucking scumbag. He and everyone like him is as responsible for the abuse in care homes as the people who are stamping on the hands of their fellow human beings.
The documentary ends on the low and realistic note that if it’s happening there- which was inspected, three fucking times in 2 years and no-one did a thing- where else is it happening? These are people who could live at home or in a residential home if their families got any support, and they don’t, because the elderly and people with learning disabilities are on the bottom of priorities in social care, and social care is the bottom priority in healthcare. It should be a national outrage, and it isn’t.
At the very least, two of those in the documentary were moved (the other lady, the one with a personality disorder, I wonder what became of her, she was never mentioned again) and arrests have been made. But it’s too little, too late. Fuck them.