Care homes in UK accused of using strong arm tactics to silence complainants

Care homes in the UK had been accused of trying to stop complaints by banning families who raise concerns from visiting their loved ones or even evicting patients.

Hundreds of residential homes are accused of having acted unfairly against relatives who had legitimate worries over the quality of care.

The problem had acquired such dimensions as to prompt the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to publish new guidelines on Thursday, ordering care homes to stop the practice.

In one case relating to a care home in Somerset a man was prevented from visiting his 93-year-old father. In another case in Essex a woman was evicted after her children made a complaint. 

According to Campaign group, Compassion in Care it heard from "50 or 60 families a year" who had their visits restricted or banned for making complaints. 

The organisation's founder, Eileen Chubb, told the BBC, "That seems to be a tactic that's used against families who are raising genuine concerns.

"The balance of power is totally weighed against the relative raising concerns, and whatever the care home says is taken at face value by all of the authorities.'

Meanwhile, the care regulator said care homes would be forced to reveal how many patients they hadevicted against their wishes.

They would also need to share how many relatives of elderly patients had been banned from visiting their loved ones, the Care Quality Commission said.

Family members need not "live in fear" of raising concerns, it added.

The developments come after the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme learned hundreds of homes were banning visits from relatives who had made complaints.

In response to the programme's revelations, the CQC said care homes would now be obliged to tell 

 inspectors how many people had had visiting rights restricted and how many residents had been removed against their will.