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Saturday, 19 October 2013

Care Home Horror Selective Reporting

Another home that was supposed to be providing a caring environment for its elderly residents has turned out to be doing anything but: Orchid View Care Home, at Copthorne, was riddled with “institutionalised abuse” as the West Sussex coroner put it. Five deaths at the home were put down to neglect. But there is a problem for some of those who scrabble around the dunghill that is Grubstreet.
Orchid View was run by Southern Cross, which got into financial difficulties recently and has now closed, and was therefore a private sector facility. So how would the press, many of whom are so used to kicking the NHS at every opportunity, report the story? Ah well. One look at the way the BBC report is written, and a cross-check with those papers that also like to kick the Corporation, is instructive.

First the Beeb: “The West Sussex coroner said the home, then run by Southern Cross, was ‘mismanaged and understaffed’. Ms Schofield has also criticised the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which gave the home a ‘good’ rating in 2010”. And now the Mail: “A coroner yesterday said the Orchid View home was riddled with ‘institutional abuse’ yet the Care Quality Commission had failed to raise the alarm”.

It’s that easy: the BBC reports the coroner’s criticism of both the operator, and the body that should have been providing oversight. The Mail just kicks the latter, because it’s part of the hated public sector. In the world of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, no good can come out of any arm of Government. But readers are told that health care staff neglected patients.

The Telegraph also manages to order its copy so that readers find out that “residents were left thirsty and malnourished and staff falsified medical records”, and “the Care Quality Commission had questions to answer over why it gave Orchid View a "good" rating in 2010, and why no steps were taken to intervene after serious failings were identified by a second inspection four months before its closure in October 2011”.

Only after that does Southern Cross get a mention. The Express is better in mentioning who ran Orchid view before reporting criticism of the CQC, and the Mirror, although it runs through the full horror story before mentioning the CQC, for some reason does not tell readers that the home was a private sector enterprise. One might have expected a left-leaning title to include that.

But the Mail and Telegraph have done their job: readers know that the public sector failed, the kinds of people with read the detested Guardian. That this is a manifestation of private sector health care is not stressed: that would not go down well with advertisers that buy space in their papers, and those politicians whom they in turn support.

And Orchid View will be forgotten as soon as they can kick the NHS once again.

1 comment:

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