More than 9,000 elderly and disabled people are living in care homes ruled unsafe by inspectors as the social care crisis deepens.
The Care Quality Commission watchdog rated 251 residential care homes in England as “inadequate” when it comes to safety, according to Labour Party research.
Reasons for the rating can include too few staff, bullying, harassment and mismanagement of medicines.
Inspectors also found instances of carers not ensuring the vulnerable had enough to eat, workers getting jobs without full checks and identities of agency staff being unverified.
Conditions in homes were also blasted by the watchdog.
Examples include unsealed clinical waste being found in open bags on a housekeeping trolley and fire doors that failed to close properly.
Residential care costs around £600 a week in a standard care home where the elderly get help with daily tasks.
Explaining its role, the CQC says on its website: “We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find, including performance ratings to help people choose care.
“We set out what good and outstanding care looks like and make sure services meet fundamental standards.”
Dealing specifically with safety, it adds: “You must not be given unsafe care or treatment or be put at risk of harm that could be avoided.
“Providers must assess risks to your health and safety during care or treatment and make sure staff have the qualifications, competence, skills and experience to keep you safe.”
Its grim findings come as the Mirror’s Fair Care for All campaign demands a shake-up.
We want the creation of a National Care System to run alongside the NHS, carers to be paid the Living Wage and a National Commission on how to fund a care revolution.
Shadow Social Care Minister Barbara Keeley said: “Older and disabled people often move into care homes because they are seen as safer than them staying in their own home.
“The fact there are over 9,000 people in homes which are clearly unsafe is a matter of shame for this government.
It is unacceptable that the end result of a decade of government cuts is that thousands of people are facing poor quality care, and even neglect or abuse.
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“The Government must act now to ensure nobody is forced to endure this.
“Labour will invest an extra £8billion in social care, including supporting 160,000 more people to access the support they need in their own homes, rather than relying on care homes which have been deemed unsafe.”
The Department of Health and Social Care said: “People using social care services in England must receive high quality, safe and compassionate care.”
Its spokeswoman added: “Already 84% of providers are rated good or outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.
“To protect the public and hold providers to account we gave the CQC powers to crack down on poor care or abuse and hold people accountable.
“Any services given an inadequate rating will have to improve or risk being closed down.”