Panorama Undercover: Elderly Care

April 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Panorama is no stranger to unveiling shocking truths. Only last year an undercover investigation by Panorama resulted in a police investigation and the arrest of carer workers at a Bristol care facility where ill treatment of patients with learning disabilities was caught on camera.

Last night Panorama unearthed the story of Maria Worroll. An elderly lady who suffers from Alzheimer’s and was a resident at Ash Court care home in North London where she should have received full time care. 

Only six weeks into Maria’s stay her daughter, Jane, noticed bruising on her mother’s body and felt that Maria had become increasing introverted and generally unhappy. Trying to work out why Maria felt this way Jane planted a secret camera in her mum’s room to see what care Maria was actually receiving.

fiona phillips, Maria and Jane Worroll

Fiona Phillips with Maria and Jane Worroll in Panorama

The footage is truly shocking. Maria’s care plan wasn’t followed correctly, she was forced fed and her wishes to receive personal care from female carers only were ignored. In only 2 nights worth of footage Maria was subject to neglect and both verbal and physical abuse.

Five carers were filmed in Maria’s room at Ash Court over the course of secret filming, each of them failed to communicate with her and none offered Maria any reassurance when she was clearly distressed. Instead Maria was isolated with no entertainment, the television was only switched on when carers wished to watch, and Maria’s needs appeared to be disregarded despite her Alzheimer’s.

Most distressingly was the physical abuse caught on film, Maria was slapped 6 times by a male carer, pushed and shoved around a bed and manhandled because it would appear that the carers didn’t care to use as hoist as required. Outrageous and shocking but sadly the reality of Maria’s experience.

Jane’s footage was shown to Ash Court management, Quality Care Commission and Forest Healthcare, the owners of Ash Court. Their responses to the footage seemed to me to be lacklustre. CQC’s report doesn’t publish the matter that a serious case of abuse to a vulnerable person occurred in a facility which they rated as ‘excellent’. And the Chief Executive of New Forest reported that 4 of the 5 would return to work after a training process to ensure similar incidents didn’t occur again, which simply doesn’t seem good enough.

Unsatisfied Jane took her footage to the police and social workers who lead an investigation and later charged the male carer, Jonathon Aquino, with assault and ill treatment. He will now serve 18 months in prison. After five months the 4 other carers in question were sacked from Ash Court.

Maria is now in a different care home where her needs are being attended to properly. She is happy, out of bed and able to enjoy her life once again. Panorama’s report, which was lead my Fiona Phillips was utterly devastating and has raises further questions as to whether care homes in Briton are providing thorough, reliable and genuine care for their residence or slipping into decline.

Although difficult to watch I hope that this episode of Panorama will put more emphasis on enabling elderly people to stay at home, independently, for as long as possible. As I truly believe that this could avoid such mindless abuse and neglect to vulnerable elderly people.

Watch Panorama Undercover: Elderly Care on BBC iPlayer now.

Panorama- Poor America

February 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Last night I watched a Panorama programme titled ‘Poor America’. Presented by journalist Hilary Anderson the programme looked into the deep poverty troubling millions of people living in the wealthiest country on Earth, America.

The programmed shockingly revealed that 13 million Americans are jobless resulting in many living in extreme poverty. This was reflected by the starling figure that one and a half million American children are homeless, a statistic that I find difficult to comprehend.

tent city in america

Tent Cities are becoming common in America

The show saw Hilary visit ordinary American families, many of whom are too poor to afford housing. In Las Vegas hundreds are said to be living in tunnels under the casinos where millions of dollars are spent on gambling. Elsewhere children are found to be living in cheap motels, and ‘tent cities’– communities constructed with tents for the homeless- are becoming commonplace in cities across America.

Most shocking for me is the number of Americans without health insurance, an estimated 50 million at present. During the programme a free medical clinic was up by Stan Brock, a British medical organiser who offers free check –ups with doctors and dentists. Hundreds of people arrived, many camping out overnight to take advantage of the free medical assistance. A majority of those attending had no health insurance or money to pay for any medical procedures needed.

Free medical care

A medical check-up service organised by Stan Brock

I found the honest account of America appalling as I can’t understand how so many people can be living in such server deprivation in the world’s richest country. After watching the programme I found myself questioning what has gone so wrong in America.

Panorama’s Poor America has made me appreciate the caring and nurturing society which I am so lucky to live in. Although many of us moan about the National Health Service and social care here in Britain I think it is important to remember that these services are here for us and can be used in times of great need.

Watch Panorama- Poor America on BBC Iplayer now.

Annette’s Websites of the Week 11h-15th July 2011

July 15, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Annette's websites of the week

I’ve spent this week blogging about activities which are great to do with grandchildren during the school holiday. Having grandchildren myself I know how wonderful spending quality time with them is. However, I’m sure that both parents and grandparents will agree that finding ways to keep children entertained isn’t always easy.

Day out With The Kids

Thankfully has some great ideas of local kid friendly events/venues. Simply enter your details, (region/type of activity /age of kids) and you’ll find an endless list of idea which you probably had no idea existed.

think jessicaI came across ‘Think Jessica’ after watching Panorama- Why hate junk mail. I found the programme quite shocking, as although junk mail isn’t something new or unknown I was completely unaware of the catastrophic impact which scam mail has on individuals lives.

Jessica sadly passed away in 2007 but her story was prevalent during the show, as a case study which displayed how scam mail can tear lives apart, especially those who are elderly and vulnerable. is a site developed and maintained by Jessica’s family who are campaigning for change in junk mail and hope to help other people who have fallen victim to mail scams. Think Jessica is a really worthwhile campaign in my opinion, and one which I hope gets as much coverage and possible.

50plusLogoThe 50+ show in London is in full swing both today and tomorrow (15th -16 July 2011) at London Olympia, Grand Hall. The show is great for those who are looking to remain fit, healthy and active when in their 50’s and above.

With lots to see at the event including cookery demonstrations, health checks with Cancer Research UK, holiday ideas, fashion shows, financial, travel advice and much more. The website is really useful if you are planning on paying the show a visit. If not you can download the 50+ show magazine online free of charge- click here.

Panorama- Why hate junk mail

July 11, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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panorama_logoPanorama’s latest programme ‘Why hate junk mail’ caught my attention for a number of reasons. Firstly I was stunned by the sheer volume of ‘junk mail’ that people receive daily, and secondly shocked by the affects that such mail has on people.

As a business woman I know that importance of marketing, it’s the perfect way to get a message across to potential customers. For years mailing out information to our customers was a great way to market Bath-Knight, our efforts have now turned digital as we feel this is more effective and less obtrusive.

However, other companies are continuing to use mailers. Unfortunately the majority are now considered ‘junk mail’ offering little value and in the most severe cases scamming those who fall victim.

I was disappointed to see the sad aftermath of junk mail as it comes with a hefty bill to be removed and isn’t very environmentally friendly-  In Cornwall alone the council spend £700,000 a year on disposing junk mail, which generally goes into landfills.

no junk mail

More distressingly Panorama exposed the truth about how much misery scam mailing can cause to its victims. Many vulnerable elderly people fall for scams as they are falsely offered a grand prize draw, competition or lottery style victory; convinced that such mail is genuine due to the connection with Royal Mail.

The story of Jessica was prominent on the show as the 83 year old became obsessed with junk mail, spending thousands of pounds on unwanted goods and cash pay outs under the impression that she was on the edge of victory. Affected so badly by junk mail Jessica’s family have now set up a website to raise awareness and offer advice for victims of scam or junk mail-

think jessica logo

Helping to stop cruel and unjust junk mail is so important as not only are these leaflets, newsletters and pamphlets filling up our landfills they are leaving a heavy burden on some of the most vulnerable people in society. Watch Panorama- Why hate junk mail on BBC iplayer now.

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