Somerset

Care home whistleblower Lily Flurey defends actions

Lily Flurey
Image caption Mrs Flurey raised her concerns to regulators but was later sacked

A care worker from Somerset who turned whistleblower has called for others to speak up about poor standards, despite being sacked for taking action.

Her calls come after a BBC Panorama investigation revealed abuse at the Winterbourne View residential care home in Bristol.

In 2008 Lily Flurey first raised concerns to regulator the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) about the Moorlands Residential Care Home.

The owner of the care home, Ian Darbyshire, said her claims were inaccurate and invalid.

After being sacked, she took her case to an employment tribunal in January where she won "substantial" damages for unfair dismissal.

She did not want to disclose the sum awarded to her.

'Nothing was done'

Mrs Flurey worked at the care home in Merriott from June 2006 to June 2010 when she was sacked after being handed a final warning.

She first made her complaint to the CSCI (now called the Care Quality Commission) in September 2008 having already raised her concerns to her manager about standards of care, such as some staff turning off emergency alarms so they could sleep or not bathing residents.

"A carer took residents into the bathroom where they were supposed to be getting bathed.

"They had Alzheimer's and she wouldn't bother to bath them and she would just sit down, wait about 10 minutes and they were absolutely dry.

"She had been caught quite a few times doing this. I reported this, but nothing was done," said Mrs Flurey.

The regulator noted the complaints made by Mrs Flurey and carried out an unannounced inspection on 23 September 2008.

It downgraded the care home's status from two stars to zero, which means "the people who use this service experience poor quality outcomes".

'Not backed up'

However Mr Darbyshire disputed the claims of poor standards of care.

"They [claims] were not backed up by any facts whatsoever," he said.

"In terms of the report, that triggered immediate inspection by social services.

"Three different social workers spent about a week-and-a-half coming into the home and found the home to be completely good, and completely the opposite of that report."

The latest report by the CQC in November 2010 said the care home was "meeting all the essential standards of quality and safety we reviewed".

Star ratings are no longer handed out by regulators.

Mrs Flurey said after turning whistleblower, the owner of the care home "started to make my life unbearable, he was accusing me of all sorts of things and was out to get me".

Mr Darbyshire maintained she was sacked for "very good reason" because her conduct was "sometimes inappropriate" and she had bullied other staff members.

"The reason the tribunal decision went against us was because they decided quite arbitrarily not to look at the large number of witness statements we had," he said.

Despite being sacked, Mrs Flurey said she had taken the right course of action.

"Go through the proper channels, go to your supervisor, your manager, go to the owner and if you get no joy, report them."

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