In Health and Social care, duty of care refers to the obligation as a care worker to protect the patients or the service users and prevent them from being harmed. Failing the duty of care can be considered as a criminal offence and an act of neglect especially in Health and Social care because most of the service user are vulnerable and need care and attention. As a care worker it is expected from you to meet the service users’ needs and act in their best interests; but when instead of protecting them as the duty of care recommend it to do so, the service users are exploited and neglected, it is considered as an act of harming them and abuse which may result to the service user being distressed. Below are two cases of failures of duty of care Mid Staffordshire hospital and Winterbourne view.
Mid staffordshire hospital case was portrayed as as a scandal in the media. Between 400 and 1200 patients died at Stafford Hospital over 50 months during the period of January 2005 and March 2009. This mortality’s main cause was about the bad and poor care; the shortage of staff in Stafford Hospital resulted into service users left unwashed and not fed, the lack of compassion and low morale from staff not respecting the service users’ rights and dignity, and also the uncaring nursing staff who failed their duty of care by leaving patients in their own excrement or in soiled bed clothes, patients given the wrong medication or not given any medication at all. The Mid Staffordshire was also characterized by the Stafford hospital leadership which only goal was to meet the government imposed targets without caring about the consequences in order to get the Foundation trust status. For them to get the Foundation trust status, the board decided to try to save 10 million pounds in 2006 and 2007 for only to be done by cutting some staff which was already not enough, hence leading to poor care. . The Mid Staffordshire failings affected the service users involved in a way they created an emotional distress by knowing that they are not being given the care they came for but instead their requests for help are ignored. The bad care also led to four elderly patients to die and many other more.
However, the Winterbourne View was a hospital located in South Gloucestershire near Bristol for people with learning disabilities and autism whose behaviour sometimes made their families and guardians worry. It was meant to help by empowering and treating patients so that they could have ordinary lives in their own homes and be dependent. It all began when a whistleblower Terry Bryan who was a former senior nurse at Winterbourne View complained but his complaint did not go through then he went to BBC which helped by sending an agent Joe Casey undercover to go in. Winterbourne View was mainly characterized by abusive care who couldn’t respect and do their duty of care. In winterbourne View, patients with autism and learning disabilities were most likely to be abused. Care workers would slap them, twist their hands and worst like force them to take medication which it is known to not be acceptable. The uncaring leadership was also portrayed in the Winterbourne case in way that the manager who was considered as a kind of leader knew about it and also was shown in the undercover footage laughing when a patient with learning disabilities was on the floor soaked in water. The failures in Winterbourne View affected the services in a way that the abuse caused patients to be emotionally and socially distressed, to be fearful, to feel discriminated because of their disabilities leading being more vulnerable and helpless.
In Mid Staffordshire Hospital, the implications the healthcare staff involved faced charges of clinical negligence because of poor care and the negligence of cutting the number of staff just to meet financial targets; some of staff involved in the bad care of Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal were suspended. The staff was not the only people to be charged on, the health and social care practice such Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust was finned half of a million pounds by the department of Health and by families whose loved ones died. The health and social care practice also faced an independent review whereas it was no longer under the NHS Trust board.
While, the Winterbourne View staff faced charges to criminal act, abuse, neglect and ill treatment. It is shown that eleven care workers admitted 38 charges of neglect of people with learning difficulties. Six members of staff were put in jail for over seven years and the other five members of staff received suspended sentences in Bristol Crown Court. The exposed undercover footage showing patients being slapped, soaked in water, trapped under chairs and having their hair pulled led to Winterbourne View being shut down.
In conclusion, Mid Staffordshire Hospital and Winterbourne View are considered as two of biggest failures of duty of care in a way that between 400 and 1200 people died at Stafford hospital due to bad and poor care; and patients were abused physically and psychologically at Winterbourne View. Failing to do your duty of care leads to people being hurt and maybe injured. It is expected from a care worker to prevent harm not causing harm because causing harm is against the duty of care then can result into a criminal act.