EDITOR’S COMMENT: Welfare cuts are putting elderly and vulnerable at risk and care staff under impossible pressure

A SIGNIFICANT part of a local newspaper’s responsibility towards its community lies in its willingness to investigate in-depth matters, and expose them to the public.

This week Derbyshire Times senior reporter Julia Rodgerson pored over numerous reports and papers relating to quality of provision in the county’s care homes – and the findings are nothing short of shocking.

From a MAN’S patient notes suggesting he was an ‘independent lady’ to a patient receiving a week-long double dose of their prescribed medicine –it all paints an appalling picture.

For heaven’s sake, in one case involving a patient paralysed down their left-hand-side, the care home notes suggested their paralysis actually affected the resident’s right-hand-side.

So are we to assume, then that the people working in care homes across Derbyshire don’t know their left from their right, can’t count, and cannot differentiate the sex of those with whom they are charged to care?

No. Of course not!

Rather we must deduce that swingeing cuts to local authority budgets has struck the welfare sector a dizzying blow – one that will inevitably cost lives.

Public care homes are having to scrabble around for savings. In many cases, care homes have closed and private firms have taken over. Profit then sits ahead of care in the list of priorities.

What then happens is that the men and women who dedicate their lives to looking after the elderly and vulnerable in their twilight years are stretched to breaking point. They’re revved off the clock so that they cannot think straight. And yes, they probably put caring for their patients before making diligent notes - and who can blame them?

Give them the support they need, and our elderly deserve – now!

by James Mitchinson