Response to 'In Search of Accountability' Report
Commenting on the report, Older People’s Commissioner, Sarah Rochira, said:
“I welcome the publication of Dr. Flynn’s report today, which I hope will address the many unanswered questions of the families of the victims of the alleged abuse and neglect investigated by Operation Jasmine and help to drive the change needed across our care home system.
“As well as giving the families a much needed voice, the report, which makes for incredibly difficult reading, clearly highlights the shocking failures in care, as well as the failures of key public bodies, that had such a devastating impact on so many lives.
“Many of the issues identified in Dr Flynn’s report are issues that I have also identified and raised in my Care Home Review and wider work as Commissioner. It is therefore essential that all bodies identified in the report, in particular the Welsh Government, take all necessary action to ensure that all older people living in care homes, who are often among the most vulnerable in society, are safe, protected and always receive the highest standards of care.
“Dr Flynn’s report is clear, as was my own Care Home Review published last November, that there must be a greater investment in the care home sector and the importance of this sector, not only for older people but for Wales as a whole, must be recognised.
“The report clearly demonstrates the ways in which the criminal justice system has let down the older people and families involved in this investigation. The legal system must be changed to make it easier to prosecute those who abuse or neglect older people, or those who allow abuse or neglect to occur. This is an issue that I recently raised with the Justice Secretary and the Director of Public Prosecutions and I will continue my work with legal experts across Wales to identify specific issues that must be addressed.
“I am pleased that Dr Flynn has recommended that those who own and gain from the provision of services are held accountable. I have been clear that this cannot be addressed by current legislation and it is therefore vital that the Welsh Government includes provisions for a ‘fitness to own’ test in the forthcoming Regulation and Inspection Bill.
“Once again, I would like to pay tribute to the dignified way in which the families have fought to ensure that the pain and suffering endured by their loved ones will not be experienced by others and that there is true accountability across the care home system, including for those who provide or own care services.”