We really need to talk about Mencrap (again)

Struck by the almost radio silence by the big charities over the CQC restraint interim report, Whorlton Hall film and Leder report, I found out this week that Mencap [alleged voice of learning disability] currently have eight supported living services and residential care homes with a ‘requires improvement rating by the CQC.

Eight. Bearing in mind how difficult it seems to get anything approaching a failing rating (Whorlton Hall and St Andrews both had ‘good’ inspection ratings until the shite hit the fan), the Mencrap cluster must be quite something. A quick tot up (by someone better at maths than me) suggests a minimum of 206 people are currently getting sub-standard care from the same bunch who forever call on the government ‘to improve’ things for learning disabled people. The grim irony is almost curling my finger nails back from my fingers.

While they keep on with their relentless self promotion and trying to raise money through terrifying already terrified parents and families, I thought I’d have a look at these eight inspection reports [County House (Swindon), Mencap East Cornwall Support Service, Mencap east Hampshire Domiciliary Care Agency, Plymouth Support Service, Royal Mencap Silverhill Bungalow, Tevershall Bungalow (both in Notts), Royal Mencap Woodlands Residential Home (Norfolk) and Treseder House (Cornwall)] to see what strands of the provision are failing so badly.

Christ. What a thoroughly depressing read…

All eight failed to be well led, 7 failed to keep people safe, 3 failed to be responsive and 2 failed to be effective. I mean how can the voice of learning disability with the groaning resources and endowments they continue to pretty much bludgeon out of families (unsolicited will writing seminar garbage continued to arrive for about 3 years after LB’s death) fail to provide well led and safe services?

A few other low lights:

  • No (or absent) registered manager (3)
  • Issues about staffing numbers/availability (4)
  • Medication management issues (3)
  • Hygiene and environmental issues (6)
  • Problems with care plans/record keeping (5)
  • Problems with quality monitoring (5)

The story told across these reports is chilling. In one service people are so scared of a neighbour they are too terrified to go out. While noises were being made to resolve this the inspector noted it has gone on unchecked for some time. Another place was so dirty a family member commented they wouldn’t let a dog live there. Across all eight the impact on people’s lives extended to little or no opportunities for going out to do stuff the rest of us can do. Tablets and TVs a substitute for activities including watching church services on a tablet. “Records showed one person’s care plan had been updated and reviewed the day before the (announced) inspection”. On questioning it became clear that the service hadn’t been providing the support described for a significant period. An ex-care home now badged as ‘supported living’ was still run as such with pooled budgets and daily menus. When it was decorated one person went home while the remaining inmates were decanted to two caravans for the duration. There were the usual issues around MCA misunderstandings, lack of training and people’s rights not protected.

Eight failing services with echoes of the shite care provided in the home Danny Tozer died in. Failings his parents repeatedly pointed out and even paid for a second provider to come in and train staff. This simply ain’t good enough. You should be trailblazing dazzling support, care and provision that enables people to lead flourishing lives, have fun and do stuff they want to do. With such a bunch of heavily bloated directors you should be kicking that ball right out of the park.

Instead, your focus is on reputation, raising dosh and muscling your way into any media opportunity. I’m out of words. Well other than get your own fucking house in order before you dare to make claims about changing the world for learning disabled people.