By Rory Reynolds
FULL background checks are to be carried out on all care home agency staff after a temporary worker carried out a sickening sex attack on an elderly patient.
All agency staff working in Edinburgh care homes will now be vetted after Kenyan immigrant Joseph Sinja – who had no qualifications and little training – was jailed for six years and eight months for the shocking attack.
Sinja subjected the 76-year-old woman to a vile sexual assault – while she held onto her walking frame.
She was later found shocked and in pain by another care worker, saying that the 32-year-old had “done things that her husband wouldn’t do”.
Speaking at Sinja’s sentencing, his lawyer described his client’s only training as “four days of following someone round”.The high-profile case at the at the High Court in Edinburgh drew attention to the number of untrained agency staff at work in the city’s care homes.
An inquiry into the attack at Ferrylee Care Home in Leith in April has shown that agencies could not be relied on to properly vet their staff.
Extra funds will now be put aside to ensure that staff are supervised more closely, while the council is to contact agencies to highlight that they expect staff to be checked and trained properly.
Michelle Miller, Edinburgh City Council’s chief social work officer, said that training would not have prevented the abuse, but that it would lead to greater stringency.
She said: “A number of recommended actions have been identified as part of this process.
“However, none of these issues could have made any difference to the criminal behaviour of the individual.
“No indications about the unsuitability of this individual agency worker were evident from the information available.
“But it has also highlighted a number of unrelated actions that would allow for general improvements in practice.”
But the opposition councillors have said that care homes need more permanent full time staff, instead of improving checks on agency staff.
Labour’s health spokeswoman Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “It is vital that in council care homes we employ permanent in-house staff to ensure there is continuity of service and to provide the highest quality of care for the elderly.”