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Saturday, 20 August 2011

How We Treat Old People Makes Us No Better Than The Third World

Panorama exposes the sadistic abuse of young people with learning ­difficulties in a Bristol “care” home. Ruthless City sharks asset-strip a care home company, threatening the lives of 31,000 elderly people.

And we call ourselves a ­civilised country? When the elderly and vulnerable are treated like ­sub-humans, we are no better than a Third World hellhole.

If you think I’m exaggerating, watch Panorama’s shocking ­undercover report into ­Winterbourne View Care Home on BBC iPlayer or YouTube.

Until you see the secret footage it’s impossible to ­understand the depths of depravity. This isn’t just abuse. It’s sadism.

A young patient called Simone is shown being thrown to the floor and drenched with cold water while her abusers stand laughing. The gang of bullies then turn a fan on her until she ­shivers ­violently. When ­Simone refuses to take a pill, she is wrestled to the floor and her mouth is forced open. It is heartbreaking to watch this ­helpless young woman shaking with terror at the hands of these care home Nazis.

Patients like Simone were sent to the Winterbourne home ­because they couldn’t cope on their own. This is why £4­million a year of taxpayers’ money is poured into this “care” facility.

It was supposed to offer the latest therapies, but instead ­tortured its patients.

This sadism would not have happened if the quango paid to inspect these homes had been doing its job.

But it turns out the Care ­Quality Commission was too busy ticking bureaucratic boxes to check on the patients at ­Winterbourne, and God knows where else.

Inspectors were so desk-bound they failed to do ­random inspections to make sure vulnerable patients were given the best possible care. It’s a story you hear ­repeatedly in our social services.

What kind of ­lunacy puts ­administration above care?

Thanks to Tory ­cutbacks in welfare, there are already fewer inspectors to go around. Who’s going to save girls like Simone now?

Instead of figuring out how to offer the best care to the most needy, welfare under this ­Government is going from bad to worse. The UK’s biggest care home company for the elderly, Southern Cross Healthcare, has gone into financial meltdown putting 31,000 old people at risk.

This isn’t just a case of stupid mismanagement. The failure of this company is down to the greed of venture capitalists who bought the ­company, stripped its assets and left the elderly in its care to rot without a second thought.

Now the taxpayer will once again step in with a bail-out.

What’s a Big Society if it doesn’t offer proper care to the elderly and vulnerable?

But David Cameron is still ­hell-bent on privatising parts of the NHS, auctioning off healthcare services to the bloke with the fattest chequebook. No prizes for guessing who’ll bail them out again when it all goes wrong.

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