Mendip House is a care home for six adults run by the National Autistic Society. A recent report from the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board has highlighted shocking bullying and abuse reminiscent of the Winterbourne View scandal. One resident was forced to eat chilli and repeatedly thrown in a swimming pool, whilst another had a ribbon put around their neck and was ridden “like a horse”. Staff also took money from residents to pay for their meals.
However, it has emerged that the owners of Mendip House will not face prosecution for their failing to protect and will only face a £4,000 fixed penalty for their punishment. Surprisingly, it was the role of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that decided to only pursue financial fraud rather than criminal prosecution, this is despite the initial claim from the CQC that it was a police decision. Labour Shadow Minister for social care, Barbara Keely, has written to the CQC demanding answers for the ‘outrageous’ decision. She described the decision as an “affront to residents and their families”.
An apology has been issued by Mark Leaver, Chief Executive at the National Autistic Society, who said:
“What happened at Mendip House was appalling. We should not have allowed this mistreatment and abuse to happen. We’re deeply sorry that it did and – alongside regulators, local authorities and other agencies – we are responsible for doing all we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Residents at Mendip House were placed there by 30 local authorities and clinical commissioning groups from around the UK. The report by the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board report recommends the commissioning of care placements ought to be regulated, and that local authorities should actively monitor the care being provided to the people they place in different settings.
Jennifer Johnston, Associate, BLM