Police probe ‘assault’ by carer on elderly woman

The Panorama still image from Carewatch programme that highlighted criticisms over the care of elderly residents

The Panorama still image from Carewatch programme that highlighted criticisms over the care of elderly residents

First published in News
Last updated

A CRIMINAL investigation has been launched after a 93-year-old woman was allegedly assaulted by a carer or carers in her home.

The woman, who has dementia and lives in York, was being looked after by a team from national care provider Carewatch when the allegation was made.

Social services passed the information to North Yorkshire Police, and a force spokeswoman confirmed that York Protecting Vulnerable Persons Unit had received a report of an assault. However, there has not been enough evidence to bring any charges, she said.

The spokeswoman said: “Immediate safeguarding measures were put in place when the incident came to light and police launched a full investigation.

“Despite the extensive inquiries made by detectives, there is insufficient evidence to enable North Yorkshire Police to pursue criminal charges.

“Should any further information come to light, it will be thoroughly investigated.”

The woman’s son, who has asked not to be named to protect his mother’s identity, said: “I feel angry and I’m determined to find out what happened.”

He said he had serious concerns about the care his mother had received, and said carers often arrived at irregular times.

A spokesman for Carewatch said: “Carewatch can confirm that an investigation into allegations concerning a former customer is ongoing.

“Company managers first attended a meeting on this issue on January 23, 2014. No criminal charges have been made.

“Carewatch continues to co-operate fully with the police and the local authority as investigations into these allegations continue. There is nothing further the company can add at this stage.”

Carewatch recently confirmed it is to close its York offices in James Street, with 22 employees in consultation over the future of their jobs.

The York branch of the national care company was criticised over its treatment of elderly people in a BBC Panorama programme after an undercover reporter said her training comprised of four 20-minute DVDs and a 90-minute tutorial before she was declared fit for work.

The reporter said staff were overworked and on one occasion she did not get to a client’s home until 1am, by which time the person had gone to sleep, and the carers had no way of knowing if they were okay or not.

After the programme aired in 2009, City of York Council confirmed it would not be renewing its contract with the organisation in York. Carewatch said Panorama did not provide a balanced view and a client satisfaction survey showed most service users were happy with the support given.

With regard to the current criminal investigation, City of York Council spokeswoman, said: “Whilst we cannot comment on individual cases, we work with partner agencies to investigate any claims of mistreatment and take appropriate action to ensure the safety of vulnerable residents receiving care.”

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