Private Eye on Failure of Care at More Care Hospitals owned by American Private Equity Firms

I blogged yesterday on the scandalous conditions and abuse of patients at Winterbourne View, a residential hospital run by a private equity firm. Looking back through Private Eye I found more cases of neglect and abuse of people with learning difficulties in care homes run by the Priory Group, owned by Advent International, another private equity firm. This article was published in their 27th July-12th August edition last year.

‘Care Homes

Priory Engagement

The Priory group and its Craegmoor subsidiary boast that they “transform lives”. but they seem less happy to see their brand on their ever expanding care home portfolio when things go wrong.

When the Care Quality Commission’s unannounced checks revealed shortcomings in facilities for the learning disabled, no criticism was levelled at “Europe’s leading specialist care provider” to tarnish its self-proclaimed “unrivalled reputation”. That is because two of the group’s homes criticised by the CQC for failing to protect the safety and welfare of its young residents, Lammas Lodge in Hereford and Melling Acres in Liverpool, are registered in the name of Parkcare Homes, which took all the blame and bad publicity in the specialist media.

In September last year, following an anonymous tip, inspectors found residents at risk of abuse in Lammas Lodge, a home for young adults. There were not enough staff and what staff there were, inspectors found, were not properly trained to meet residents’ complex needs. There were six major areas of concern, including care and welfare, medication and safeguarding. The home, which was warned it must improve or face closure, has since been given a clean bill of health by the regulators.

Not so Melling Acres, where inspectors reported major concerns in May about the care and welfare of its seven residents – care plans were poor, with scant information about physical health needs, there were limited activities and a lack of advocacy to enable people to express concerns about their care.

The Priory Group and Craegmoor are owned by the American private equity firm Advent International, whose continuing expansion into the industry (it has recently acquired 11 Harbour Care homes on the south coast) is causing some concern.

The collapse last year of Southern Cross showed that care homes, private equity and poor financial and care regulation can lead to a toxic cocktail for the people in care. Sale and leaseback deals on the care home property portfolio itself enabled profits to be creamed off by Southern Cross’s private equity owner, Blackstone, before the credit crunch meant Southern Cross could no longer afford its landlords’ rising rents.

As Eye readers may recall, Philip Scott – the former Southern Cross chief executive who was in charge during the boom years but bailed out, selling his personal stake for £11m just before sales started to plunge-went on to become CEO at the Priory Group. Interestingly, he has this month announced he is to quit.

Is history about to repeat itself? The group has recently reduced its earnings forecast by 7 per cent, blaming the squeeze on NHS budges for a fall in patients. Will Scott retain his equity stake in the group-and will he continue to rent various care properties back to the Priory Group via his property companies? Watch this space.’

I’ve no doubt that there are care homes excellently run, where their patients are comfortable and well-looked after. The combination of private equity firms, which are primarily interested in making a quick, big buck, and residential and care homes is too vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, however.

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One Response to “Private Eye on Failure of Care at More Care Hospitals owned by American Private Equity Firms”

  1. thepositivevoice Says:

    Reblogged this on thepositivevoice.

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