Dear Team Marbrook

Firstly, if you have eyes-ears-mouth this email is aimed at you and not just direct care staff so please read carefully. This random comment will make sense as you read on.

Having watched ‘BUPA Care Homes Undercover’ on Dispatches (Channel 4) on Monday night, I was compelled to write this email. If you did not get an opportunity to watch this program, I would urge you to do so. You may find it on catch-up if you have Sky or Cable TV, alternatively I believe it can be viewed on Channel 4’s website, see link at the bottom of this email. If you do get the opportunity to watch it, please feedback to your colleagues who have not.

I know you are an amazing staff team and therefore I am absolutely certain that the content of this program will trouble you as much as it troubled me. Human behaviour is complex and inconsistent and regardless of how rigorous our recruitment and training processes are, there is always a risk of employing a rogue member of staff who has their own ideas about what constitutes appropriate care. This said, it is not usually a single bad member of staff that creates a horrendous experience for vulnerable people, it is actually everybody else that does nothing about it!

I spent five years in my early career as a Care Home Inspector so none of the appalling care practices I saw shocked or amazed me. What shocked me to the core was the sheer number of staff complicit in this neglectful and truly shocking regime. The culture of whistleblowing and the confidence and empowerment of staff to challenge each other’s practices is absolutely crucial. It’s when such a culture fails to exist that the poison spreads and good staff who know what they see is wrong, decide to leave rather than try to change things. When this happens the see-saw tips towards the negative meaning you suddenly have more bad staff than good. When you’re in the minority it’s often easier to walk away and find somewhere else to work rather than risk being ridiculed or bullied by whistleblowing and standing up for what you believe.

Virtually all the feedback we receive about the care you deliver at The Marbrook Centre has been positive. Our residents, their families and external visitors comment that it is a warm, friendly and welcoming environment. This culture has been set by you and fortunately I believe our see-saw is still tilted in the right direction!

It’s not always easy working in care; it can be physically and emotionally exhausting. We can become mechanical in the way we deliver care; not deliberately, but purely in our efforts to just get things done. Let’s keep remembering that at the centre of our efforts are vulnerable people whose lives have drastically and sometimes very suddenly changed due to illness or accident and that this could be anyone of us, or members of our family in the future.

It was not my intention to write an essay but just to give you a reminder that we take safeguarding and whistleblowing extremely seriously. Please continue the amazing work you do with us and feel empowered to do the right thing. You have all received training during your induction period which included training in the safeguarding of vulnerable adults. Safeguarding posters are also on notice boards on every floor and the whistleblowing procedure is attached to this email.

Keep up the good work and thank you all.