Panorama – the pervasive taint of abuse
Caring Times Letters, June 2014
The recent revelations that BBC TV’s Panorama team brought to our television screens were heartbreaking – I was moved to tears. As head of the West Midlands Care Association, I applaud the brave whistleblowers, the dignity of victims’ families and the diligence of the programme makers, whose combined actions have hopefully instigated justice.
The documentary has now sparked an inquiry by Essex Police on the alleged abuse and an appeal made for members of the public, who wish to report allegations of crime relating to the hidden camera film footage, to come forward. Because the whole sorry business is under legal consideration I cannot truly express the comments I’d wish to address to the alleged offenders. But I do believe both personally and as the principal representative of my organisation, which supports private sector care providers throughout the West Midlands, I have an obligation to bring some sense of perspective to the matter.
While sadly it is still necessary for such investigative journalism to uncover alleged cases of secretive elder abuse, the incidents we viewed are extremely rare and the vast majority of caring on a national and regional level is excellent. My worry is that, because of the fear such footage cultivates, those elderly, frail and dependent people who desperately need more watchful care could understandably refuse a residential setting package that would enhance their living experience.
I can only encourage their families and loved-ones not to vilify all carers because of what they have seen. The vast majority are professional, compassionate and give above and beyond their contractual obligations.
– Debbie Le Quesne, chief executive West Midlands Care Association