More than a thousand council investigations have been launched at care homes looking after some of the most vulnerable people in Leeds.
Figures obtained by the YEP under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed that in the last two years, Leeds City Council has conducted a total of 1,061 ‘safeguarding investigations’ at adult care homes across the city.
And of those, 160 were in the most serious categories, which may have included ‘institutional abuse’ and ‘a deliberate intent to exploit or harm an adult.’
As a result of the investigations, 18 care homes, which look after the elderly and other vulnerable adults, had contracts with the council suspended – 10 in 2011 and eight in 2012. All of those suspended in 2011 have now been re-instated. Two from last year have also been reinstated, while five remain suspended and one has closed.
The chair of Leeds City Council’s Health and Wellbeing and Adult Social Care scrutiny board Coun John Illingworth said: “I don’t see any reason why the figures should be that high and that is certainly something I’m concerned about. I shall be asking questions to find out more.”
The YEP understands the four categories of investigation are conducted when a vulnerable adult may be at risk of harm through abuse or neglect. Type one relate to isolated incidents while type two involve an independent investigation. Type three involve serious and complex investigations, which could “indicate a pattern of incidents or abuse” involving a single adult. In 2011 there were 50 of these, rising to 63 last year. Type four involve multiple at risk adults and, like type three, may involve institutional abuse. Forty were carried out in 2011, falling to seven last year.
A council spokeswoman said: “The safety of our older people in care homes is of the highest importance, irrespective of whether they have been placed there by us or if they are paying for their own place. While the Care Quality Commission regulate care homes, we keep a close eye on contracts and ensure that all conditions are being met. Where we have reason to suspend a contract, no new local authority residents will be given places at that home until the issue has been satisfactorily resolved.”