Panorama programme response from Wessex Care
On Wednesday 22nd May you may have viewed the Panorama programme and like us and our Wessex Care family, been left feeling so upset and angry by the abuse of these very vulnerable people living in a so called specialist Hospital environment.
We firstly write to assure you that our services are fundamentally different to this ingrained culture and that we constantly challenge ourselves and our staff to see the very best in the people we care for, no matter what level of distressed behavior they may exhibit or present with, and to support them to be as independent in their lives, thoughts, beliefs and wishes as possible.
Below we have listed just a few of the significant differences from the frankly appalling culture of care represented in this programme.
- We have an open door culture to our community which can include mum and toddler groups, visiting council members and Clergy etc..
- All visitors, both professional and family are encouraged to give feedback.
- All niggles and complaints responded to promptly.
- Detailed recording and monitoring systems including criminal standard CCTV (Care Centres and Milford Manor).
- Extensive internal and external training and supervision of staff.
- Zero tolerance policy regarding abuse of our residents.
- Extensive evidence of safeguarding referrals checked and reviewed independently.
- Evidence of robust disciplinary processes for staff non adherence to our safeguarding policies and procedures.
- We work in a multi-agency / disciplinary format not isolated from other independent professionals.
- Sustained evidence of high quality care for over 15 years, rated as Good or above, and a long standing strategic partner of the Council and NHS.
- As a family-run business, we are directly accountable and available to the residents, families, visiting professionals and our community and have been delivering these services in Salisbury for over 18 years.
Over the coming weeks you will hear and see many thoughts and presentations as to the state of the care sector. It is fundamentally true that the adult social care sector is in crisis nationally with long term successive political central government paralyses, and the subsequent chronic underfunding of this sector. It is also fundamentally true that there is a significant challenge in the recruitment and retention of nurses and other health and social care employees which Brexit has made considerably worse.
To reassure you, Wessex Care has strong financial agreements with Wiltshire Council and the NHS through Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which is challenging but adequate; this underpins and supports all our resident’s costs including allowing us to accept some private customers at a lower rate than would normally be required. We also have high retention levels of employees, also a challenging area but our reputation supports positive recruitment.
However none of these challenges are / is an excuse for the appalling abusive culture presented at this so called specialist hospital. This is a failing of care starting from the ownership at the top of the service through senior management which produces this type of culture. This also does not happen overnight but has taken probably years of incompetent and uncaring ownership and senior management to develop.
This hospital received extensive high level fees, £1000s per week above what our type of service would receive from the NHS or Local Councils, had access to extensive staff and yet still managed to fail these vulnerable residents so badly. There is simply no excuse for this as there was no excuse for Winterbourne, another so called specialist Learning Disability Hospital.
Remember we are always here and ready to listen to any concern you may have no matter how insignificant you may feel it is, talk to our teams talk to us.
To our employees we say, don’t hide in shame or feel guilty for being part of this sector be proud of the highly dedicated care you provide every day to our wonderfully individual residents and customers in the community. Wessex Care and you are not like these services and these people, you are, and are known for your caring, committed, professional and dedicated care and have been for many years.
Remain vigilant and true to our and your ideals of person-centred, protective and loving care and remember it is your individual ‘duty of care’ to protect first and then report any issue or concern you may have and you know, that as a family and as a team, you will be heard and we will respond.
Be proud of what you do you are amazing.
Pauline & Matthew Airey
Jodie Scott (nee Airey) & Christian Airey
Operation & Business Directors.