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The care home scandal in Wiltshire

August 2, 2011 11:53 PM
Chris CaswillCllr Chris Caswill (Chippenham Monkton ward) has called for an overhaul of the standards of residential care for Wiltshire residents.
At the July 12th Wiltshire Council meeting, Chris was given an assurance by the Cabinet member for adult social care, John Thomson, that all was well at Rose Villa, the Castlebeck residential home in Bristol. Several Wiltshire residents live there.
Castlebeck are the company which ran the notorious Winterbourne View home which was the subject of a Panorama documentary. Within hours of Cllr Thomson's assurance it was revealed by the BBC that staff at Rose Villa had been suspended and within a couple of weeks the Care Quality Commission identified Rose Villa as one of the four Castlebeck residential homes about which they had 'serious concerns'. Rose Villa was
judged inadequate on five 'essential standards'.
Cllr Caswill has now written to Cllr Thomson to ask how he, and NHS Wiltshire, could give assurances about the care being given to Wiltshire residents in the morning, which were already in doubt by the same evening, and then completely rubbished within a couple of weeks. "Public trust in the support being given to our most vulnerable adults has been seriously undermined by this disturbing chain of events. Either Thomson knew about these problems and was concealing them from the council and the public, or he didn't know and the council's protection of its vulnerable citizens is not up to the job. "
Chris has called for a root and branch review of the Council's monitoring of adult social care provision, and suspension of the current proposals for re-tendering of nursing home provision for vulnerable adults. "There are big questions to answer about Wiltshire Council's much hyped investment in adult social care. Wiltshire citizens at Winterbourne view and Rose Villa have been put at risk. We need to be sure it can't happen elsewhere and we cannot be sure unless Cllr Thomson is ready to learn the lessons.
Whatever we cut it can't be our duty to the most vulnerable."
Letter to Cllr John Thomson


At the Council meeting on July 12, I asked you a question about the treatment of Wiltshire residents in the Rose Villa rehabilitation centre. As you know, Rose Villa is owned and managed by Castlebeck, the company which had also been responsible for the disgraceful treatment of residents Winterbourne View. You replied as follows:

"Four Wiltshire residents did reside at Rose Villa at the point the safeguarding alert was raised. A Safeguarding investigation was carried out and NHS Wiltshire are satisfied that measures were put in place that ensure the safety of the residents. "

Later that day it was reported on television that several of the staff at Rose Villa had been suspended, which already raised grave doubts about the assurances which had come from you and NHS Wiltshire. Just over two weeks later, on July 28, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published their report on Castlebeck. A copy of the report comes to you with this e-mail. I assume you already know by now that Rose Villa was found to be one of four Castlebeck locations across the country about which the CQC has the "most serious concerns". The summary on their website can be found at


The CQC report found that five of what they describe as "essential standards" were not being met at Rose Villa, including the provision of safe and appropriate care, protection from abuse and proper provision of medicines.

It is clear that this chain of events raises serious doubts about Wiltshire Council's quality control. My further questions to you now are:

When you provided the assurances to council and the public on Rose Villa on July 12, were you aware that staff there had been suspended? If so, why did you not make that information public? If not, where has the breakdown in communication occurred?

How is it possible that you yourself and NHS Wiltshire could provide reassurances on Rose Villa at a time when the serious shortcomings identified by the CQC must have already been identifiable?

Given this shortfall in quality monitoring and control, will you agree to a review of all the council's quality assessment procedures in this area, and to ask NHS Wiltshire for a similar commitment, so that public confidence in the council's support for residential care can be restored?

Will you also agree to reconsider your current proposals for commissioning nursing home provision for older people, people with mental health problems and people with physical impairment, to include more robust safeguards than were in place for the residents in Rose Villa?

I hope these events will act as a wake up call and that major improvements will now be made.

Yours etc

(Cllr) Chris Caswill