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Whistleblower demands public inquiry


4 April, 2008  

A nurse who blew the whistle on shocking conditions in a South Shields care home has demanded a public inquiry to ensure a better standard of care for the elderly.

Phil Brown lifted the lid on the appalling working practices at Bamburgh Court, which led to then-manager Ann Rigby being struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) last week.

The home is under new management and has changed its name to St Michaels View Care Home, run by Southern Cross.

The most recent report by the Commission for Social Care Inspection in July last year said the home now provides good clinical care.

But Mr Brown, who lives in Lincoln Road, Marsden, South Shields, said questions remain unanswered and he is determined to force the issue to a public inquiry.

He said: “I think it’s in the public interest to hold a public inquiry. What went on at that care home was horrifying. I nursed in Romania after the fall of Ceausescu and the level of deprivation I witnessed at Bamburgh Court was on a par with what I encountered in Bucharest.

“I have contacted the Royal College of Nursing for legal advice and support in finding out how to go about securing a public inquiry into every aspect of care at the home and into how the investigation was handled.

“I am calling for it because I feel that there are a lot of lessons to be learned and a lot of questions that are still unanswered as to the length of time it took to investigate.

“The elderly in this country are being totally denigrated. They are treated within the healthcare system as the lowest caste in society.

“And at the moment I feel that unless there is a public inquiry involving the Department of Health, this will happen time and time again. It needs to be examined.”