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Saturday 22nd October 2016

Elderly at risk of abuse

6th March 2007

Residents of private nursing homes have no protection under the Human Rights Act, says Max Pemberton in The Telegraph.


Dr Pemberton’s article highlights a loophole in the law which means that residents of private nursing homes are not protected by the Human Rights Act, while those in local-authority-run homes are. In an emotive article, Dr Pemberton calls for a change in the law to give more rights to vulnerable elderly patients who are at the mercy of those who care for them.

Dr Pemberton recalls a time when she worked in a nursing home during her summer holidays from medical school. As part of her job she was told to lock disturbed and distressed patients in their rooms for hours on end so that she and the rest of the staff could continue with other work. “I knew that no one deserved to be locked in a room for hours on end – and certainly not someone vulnerable, scared and alone. Sometimes when we came to unlock the doors, the residents had fallen on the floor. Often they were sitting in their own urine,? remembers Dr Pemberton.

While things have improved since Dr Pemberton was a student, the rights of the elderly are still ignored and patients in nursing homes continue to be abused and neglected. The fact that patients in private nursing homes are not protected by the Human Rights Act is something that has been challenged recently in the Court of Appeal. Dr Pemberton points out that the Human Rights Act is there to ensure that abuse is challenged and stopped and should apply to every human being no matter what their circumstances.

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