Criminal investigation into UK care home after video exposed dementia patient's abuse

The hidden camera footage showed Ann King being abused by a member of staff.

A criminal investigation has been launched into a luxury Surrey care home after hidden camera footage exposed an 88-year-old dementia patient being abused.

Ann King's distressing catalogue of both physical and verbal abuse was captured on a hidden camera in her room, and first exposed by the Guardian almost one year ago. It was reported to the police by her children.

Later, ITV News revealed Ann's experience was among more than 1,000 allegations of abuse or neglect at care homes last year which did not result in a criminal charge.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has now launched a criminal investigation, citing "concerns raised" about the care provided to Ms King at the £8,000-a-month Reigate Grange.

A spokesperson said: "We are carrying out a criminal investigation into concerns raised around the care provided to Ann King at Reigate Grange.

"No decision has been made on whether we will be taking any enforcement action. We will provide an update once this investigation has concluded."

The video footage given to both the Guardian and ITV News shows staff at the care home making lewd gestures to Ann and flickering light switches to confuse her. They also left her struggling on the floor for nearly an hour.

A spokesperson for Signature at Reigate Grange said: “We have always been clear that the behaviour of the individuals involved in Mrs King’s care 18-months ago was reprehensible and did not represent our values or standards of care. They are no longer employed, we have apologised to the King family, and we have worked closely with the CQC and Police at every stage.

“To further protect residents from the unacceptable actions of rogue individuals, we have partnered with resident advocacy group Care Campaign for the Vulnerable (CCFTV) to launch a sector-leading safety monitoring project.   

“We have long used safety monitoring technology (cameras) in communal areas at the home, and have now gone further to offer all residents living with dementia the choice of using safety monitoring technology in their bedrooms. External, independent care experts review all footage, and families can request access at any time, providing unparalleled transparency and accountability.

“We are also backing CCFTV’s campaign to make safety monitoring mandatory in all care homes, and we want to see the introduction of a professional register of care workers so that rogue individuals can be banned from working with vulnerable people. We will continue to work with residents, families, and campaigners to root out bad actors from the care sector.”

The CQC's criminal investigation comes after freedom of information (FOI) requests by ITV News to police forces in England and Wales revealed a charge rate of just 1.4% for allegations of this kind.

The 16 forces which responded to the request for information said they had received 1,080 allegations in 2022 - but just 16 charges were made.

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