The families seeking justice after Operation Jasmine have celebrated news that care home owners will be held to account.
Nick Smith MP’s campaign to introduce laws punishing senior figures for abuse in care homes has resulted in a Government u-turn and their inclusion in the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill.
As the bill was accepted in the House of Commons, it means staff, managers and directors could face jail sentences for abuse and wilful neglect in their care – with the companies being fined and publicly named for their role in abuse.
Lorraine Brannan is the chair of Justice for Jasmine, a group set up in the wake of Operation Jasmine’s collapse.
The £11.6m, seven-year investigation throughout South Wales uncovered thousands of pieces of evidence but collapsed after the director of some of the care homes involved was deemed unfit for trial.
Lorraine said: “This is such good news, it’s brilliant. It means somebody will be held accountable even if they’re a manager or a care home owner.
“I know Nick Smith has been campaigning long and hard for it and we appreciate everything he and others have done for us.
“It would have made such a difference before, but at least families in the future will have justice and those responsible will be punished.
“This was part of the constitution for Justice for Jasmine. We’ll never forget it but we feel that there’s some justice having been done.”
Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith was on hand to welcome the Government’s new clauses in Parliament on Tuesday, and said it was better late than never.
“I started this campaign after hearing the pain and anguish some of the 100 families had gone through after Operation Jasmine’s collapse”, he said.
“The Government defeated my amendments to the Care Bill but then introduced measures very close to mine a few months later.
“Despite it taking a while for them to see sense, it’s an important step for holding the care home system to account.
“We all deserve comfort and peace of mind that at our most vulnerable we will not be taken advantage of or mistreated.
“This is a vital step in punishing those responsible for care home abuse, and I hope Justice for Jasmine feel their tireless campaigning will protect generations to come.”
The impact of the amendments to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill can be found at http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2014/06/11/government-outlaw-wilful-neglect-ill-treatment-adults-social-care/