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Safeguarding Adults Review report into abuse at former Beacon Edge nursing home published

Jeanette McDiarmid, CSAB Chair

[T]oday Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board (CSAB) has published a Safeguarding Adults Review relating to the serious physical, sexual and emotional abuse of residents which took place at the former Beacon Edge nursing home in Penrith in 2013.

A Safeguarding Adults Review is carried out to identify lessons to be learned from the case under review in respect of how professionals and organisations work together, and to consider how this learning can improve practice for the future.

This review identifies that there were systematic failings in relation to the day to day running and management of Beacon Edge and in the monitoring and auditing of the home by key safeguarding agencies.

Beacon Edge was sold by the previous owners BUPA Ltd in October 2017 and subsequently closed as a Care Home in February 2018.   Although Beacon Edge is no longer operating, the lessons from this review are relevant to all residential establishments across Cumbria and the CSAB and safeguarding partners will continue to monitor and drive change in relation to the issues identified.

Jeanette McDiarmid, Independent Chair of the Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board, said: “Whilst the review highlights failings within Beacon Edge Care Home and with relevant agencies, it would be remiss of me not to mention the victims and their families who were involved in the initial abuse and neglect in 2013 and the subsequent court case.  This has been a harrowing and traumatic experience for the families concerned and I would like to personally mention them and thank them for their forbearance during this very difficult period.

“Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board and individual Board partners have fully accepted the recommendations in the review and have made significant changes since 2013.  This includes more robust and effective partnership scrutiny of care home providers, in addition to the appointment of a Quality and Care Governance Team within Cumbria County Council.  This coupled with greater alignment and dialogue between safeguarding partners in respect of concerns within care establishments, including regular multi-agency meetings to share information, plan and agree interventions provides reassurance that interventions and escalation of issues will take place at the earliest opportunity.   Greater collaboration is now also in place between safeguarding partners and care home owners/management to ensure effective leadership and training within each establishment.

“Whilst it is extremely difficult to mitigate against all circumstances and eventualities in care home settings, I believe improved partnership dialogue and the more robust monitoring and auditing arrangements which are now in place across Cumbria will go a long way towards helping prevent such incidents happening again.”

John Macilwraith, Cumbria County Council’s Executive Director – People, said: “This was a terrible example of the abuse of vulnerable people and the report is clear that the interventions we, along with partners, made at the time were ineffective. In the years since these events we have significantly changed and strengthened how we work. Where individuals are intent on abusing vulnerable people it will always be a challenge to prevent it. But I am confident that the measures we now have in place mean vulnerable people are safer.”

Louise Mason-Lodge, NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group’s designated nurse for safeguarding, said: “The awful experience of some of the residents at Beacon Edge Nursing Home shocked all of us who are responsible for safeguarding our most vulnerable people. There has been significant time and energy spent in learning from this situation. The whole system is now working much more closely, and we are confident now that when concerns are raised through various teams, as they were at Beacon Edge, the information would be put together much more quickly and acted upon collectively.”

Dr Andrew Brittlebank, Medical Director at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “Staff from Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) were shocked to learn of the level of abuse that took place in this care home and have worked together with our partners to ensure that the concerns that were raised would now be dealt with more effectively.

“Since the police investigation and the closure of the home, CPFT has made improvements to the safeguarding policy and training. We ensure, alongside our partners, we promote a culture of continuous improvement with all learning being shared through the adult safeguarding group and through network governance meetings.  County wide our staff are also involved in the multi-agency early warning indicator meetings which aim to raise, discuss and act on any concerns relating to safeguarding of adults quickly and effectively.

“Safeguarding is an issue which the Trust takes incredibly seriously and a matter which, with our partners, we strive to continually improve on to make sure the county’s vulnerable adults and children are properly supported.”

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