Essex

Partridge Care Centre: 93 complaint investigations in six months

Partridge Care Home in Harlow
Image caption The county council says a reporting culture change meant even minor concerns were looked into

More than 90 investigations into the care of residents at a single home in Essex have been opened in a six-month period, it has emerged.

The figures from Essex County Council relate to the number of safeguarding investigations opened at the Partridge Care Centre, in Harlow.

Two-thirds of the complaints are still being investigated.

Rushcliffe Care, which runs the 117-person capacity home, said it was "following local guidelines".

Last year, an Essex Police investigation was opened after three residents were taken to hospital with "diabetes related problems". The police inquiry ended because there was no evidence of "any relevant criminal offences".

Responding to a BBC freedom of information request, the county council said it had opened 93 safeguarding investigations between January and June this year at the centre.

Safeguarding investigations are undertaken when there are concerns about abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults.

The council said 64 of the investigations opened relate to neglect.

A further 20, the authority said, centred on alleged physical abuse. The remaining nine were classed as sexual, emotional, medical, financial or "other" abuse.

'Always concerned'

The county council, which carries out the investigations, said 12 of the 93 complaints were found to be unsubstantiated, 62 were ongoing and 13 were "referred for a case management solution" and six were deemed either "substantiated, inconclusive or redirected elsewhere".

John Aldridge, the county council's cabinet member for adult social care, said the authority was "always concerned" about such reports.

He said the number of concerns voiced at the home was particularly high because of a change in reporting practices.

Staff, relatives and residents are now encouraged to report even minor concerns, he said, adding: "We didn't want things to go hidden and undisclosed.

"The number of reports of concerns remains quite high. But in reality, the number of real concerns in terms of abuse are extremely low."

He said the county council had worked very closely with the home, doctors and other organisations.

A county council suspension on new residents being placed at the home was lifted in March, Mr Aldridge said.

Rushcliffe Care declined to comment on the safeguarding investigations.

A report by the Care Quality Commission written in April 2012 said: "People said that the quality of the service had improved because there were more permanent staff now and they preferred to have familiar staff."

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