Protecting those who need us the most
Partner agencies who provide care and supportto the most vulnerable adults in our communities have held one of the most important events ever to be held in Safeguarding.
They have come together with members of the public, including adult carers, to form
Here they were personally addressed by the doctor who compiled an independent report into that police investigation, as well as by the families of those who were living in the care homes involved, who spoke openly about the heartbreaking loss of care, dignity and respect their loved-ones experienced.
This week’s workshop has placed effective partnership work to secure safeguarding at the top of the agenda in Cwm Taf and once again highlighted just how important the regional Cwm Taf
Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil Councils, South Wales Police, Cwm Taf University Health Board, Probation, CSSIW, Welsh Government, Carers, representatives from the voluntary sector, care home managers and older people attended the event on Tuesday.
It was organised following the release of Dr Margaret Flynn’s report “In search of Accountability” into the neglect of older people in care homes following Gwent Police’s Operation Jasmine investigating into “suspicious” deaths and neglect at a number of facilities.
Every Safeguarding Adults Board in Wales has been asked to consider Dr Flynn’s independent report and its findings and report back to Welsh Government.
In order to do this, Cwm Taf Adult Safeguarding Board held the event at the Ty Newydd Hotel in Hirwaun, where they were addressed personally by Dr Flynn on her findings and also heard from the families of some of the older people who were involved in the Operation Jasmine investigation.
Known as the Justice for Jasmine group, these families have come together to raise awareness and to share with others their stories about the decline they witnessed in the care of their mothers, fathers and grandparents.
Giovanni Isingrini, Co Chair of the Cwm Taf Safeguarding Adults
“The highest standards of care, respect and dignity for our older residents are our main concern and we have been nationally commended for our excellence in the care of people with Dementia via the Butterfly Project.
“Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil were not areas of focus for the Operation Jasmine police investigation, although both authorities were home to facilities owned by the same private group as those involved in the investigation. The group were fined in 2001 for having no manager in place at their Aberpennar Court home in Mountain Ash and Merthyr Tydfil
“While we were not involved in the investigation, that does not mean we as a Safeguarding Board, as a partnership that cares about protecting vulnerable adults, do not have to consider the findings of Dr Flynn’s report very carefully and ask ourselves if there is more that can be done.
“The protection and care of vulnerable adults is very much a shared effort, which is why we have a joint Adult Safeguarding Adults Board coordinating and driving that effort across Cwm Taf.
“It is why we have launched a new website for families, carers and professionals to find out more about Safeguarding issues and how to seek further help and advice and it is why we have launched our Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub, which is the only one of its kind in Wales.
“From the staff on the frontline providing the care in homes to those at the top ensuring regulation, compliance and monitoring, we all have a part to play and today’s event has brought us all together to ensure we consider this report and make our own stance very clear to Welsh Government.
“We want to publicise the important event we have held this week as the media and our communities played a key role in uncovering what was happening in the affected care homes and were commended for the way they took a stand in the Review. They will continue to play a vital role in protecting vulnerable adults and highlighting safeguarding issues.”
Lisa Curtis-Jones, Co Chair of the Adult Safeguarding Board, added: “As has already been said, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil were not areas that the Operation Jasmine investigation focussed on. However, that should not make us complacent and it was important that as a Board we considered the findings and lessons highlighted in Dr Margaret Flynn’s report.
“Safeguarding is a priority for the Cwm Taf Safeguarding Boards. In May this year we saw the launch of the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub and only just a few weeks ago the Cwm Taf Safeguarding Website was launched.
“Yesterday saw a workshop being held in Cwm Taf involving a broad representation of agencies. The workshop was set up to enable us to have the opportunity to listen to Dr Margaret Flynn personally talk through her findings and the lessons her review identified. It also gave some of the families from ‘Justice for Jasmine’ the opportunity to share their experiences to help us learn lessons in the future.
“I would like to thank Dr Margaret Flynn for taking the time to share details of her report, and a special thank you to the families who shared some of their experiences of their loved ones living in residential care homes. The memories they shared were very poignant and heart- breaking. They were able to bring to life their experiences and share the difficulties and pain their relatives had suffered. Everyone in involved yesterday was moved by what they saw and what they heard. They highlighted for us that the people we work with are not just ‘adults’ or ‘older people’ but someone’s mother; father; grandparent; aunt or uncle. Someone’s loved one.”
Operation Jasmine was a £15m Gwent Police investigation which ran from 2005 to 2013 to investigate 63 deaths that were a case for concern in care and nursing homes across South East Wales. Many of the victims were living in care homes run by Puretruce Health Care Ltd, run by GPs Dr Prana Das and Dr Nishebita Das.
In 2010 to CPS advised Gwent Police that there was insufficient evidence to pursue prosecution for negligence, manslaughter or neglect.
In 2011, the investigation was handed to the Health and Safety Executive, which laid charges against Puretruce Health Care Ltd, Dr Prana Das and the firm’s then chief executive, Paul Black, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Dr Das was also charged under the Theft Act 1968.
In 2013, the trial was halted when Dr Das sustained severe injuries during an assault at his home which rendered him unable to give evidence. The matter was placed on file.
In 2013, First Minister Carwyn Jones announced he was setting up a review of Operation Jasmine and the events associated with it.
The review was led by Dr Margaret Flynn and released by Carwyn Jones AM on July 14, 2015.
Find out more about Cwm Taf Safeguarding at www.cwmtafsafeguarding.org
Find out more about the campaign from the family members and loved ones of vulnerable people involved in the investigation, who spoke so bravely at the Cwm Taf workshop at the Justice for Jasmine page