Reports of abuse and neglect of elderly rising in Gloucestershire

REPORTS about the abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults in Gloucestershire are rising.

Age UK said some older people across England are being let down by a care system that has failed to protect them from abuse and neglect.

NHS Digital figures show 3,155 concerns of abuse were made about adults with care and support needs in Gloucestershire in the year to March.

This was up by 350 from 2,805 in 2020-21.

Across England, 541,535 abuse concerns were raised last year – an increase of 9% on the year before.

Age UK said the “distressing” figures show that some older people in care are not being treated with respect or protected from abuse and neglect.

Charity director Caroline Abrahams said: “Any abuse of older people is intolerable and there must be zero tolerance of any abuse whether through neglect, financial manipulation or physical or mental cruelty.

“These cases concern some of the most vulnerable members of our society, many of whom feel that they have no one to turn to for help.”

She added that staff shortages might be leaving some settings ill-equipped to provide safe care, with record vacancy rates for manager roles in care homes particularly worrying.

If councils believe an adult with care and support needs is experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect, they must carry out a Section 42 enquiry to determine whether they need to take action.

Gloucestershire County Council completed 580 such enquiries in 2021-22 – down from 665 in 2020-21.

Raised in 15% of enquiries, psychological abuse was the most frequently mentioned reason last year. 

Nationwide, the most common type of risk in Section 42 enquiries – which typically involve people aged 85 and over was neglect and acts of omission, which accounted for 31% of risks.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The Government has made sure that across the country, the police, councils and NHS are working together to help protect vulnerable adults from abuse or other types of exploitation.

“Local authorities have a duty under the Care Act to carry out safeguarding enquiries where concerns have been raised and, following this, to take appropriate action to ensure that people are as safe as possible.”

 

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