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Browncross Healthcare Limited

Rebuttal to Article "Mirror goes undercover to expose Nursing Scandal" in the Daily Mirror of 08/08/2008, pages 26-27

The board of directors of Browncross Healthcare Limited is writing to complain about the misrepresentations, defamation, smear on the company and misquotes of the directors written by one of your feature writers, Matt Roper in the name of sensational headlines and frightening the public over out nursing assistant training course.

Although we gathered from Matt's discussing that his objective is to get at the government regarding regulation of nursing assistants and that he was impressed with the quality and presentation of our nursing assistant training, however, we are disappointed that his article rubbished the same training that is provided in order to assist people who are seriously considering looking after the vulnerable patients in the society. This training would normally give them the opportunity to have a taster of what the healthcare field has for them in the area of possible career progression, contributing positively to the care of our vulnerable people whilst moving up the socioeconomic ladder and engaging positively within their communities.

we will like to inform you that Browncross Healthcare Limited is a training and employment organization which was incorporated in 2001, was initially under the regulation of the local council (Tower Hamlets), then NCSC and presently CSCI (Commission for Social Care Inspection). Our domiciliary care and Nursing services are regularly inspected by CSCI and we always get good reports which can be seen on CSCI web site. In addition, Browncross Healthcare is an umbrella body with the Criminal Records Bureau and therefore our staff and trainees will always undertake their CRB/POVA check. We are on the preferred list of many reputable organizations for provision of good quality staff to support their internal staff and we work with some social services and charitable organizations.

In order to fulfil our high expectations, our staff are expected to be well trained and we have our training arm that regularly disseminates quality gateway training to trainees and people who are refreshing their knowledge. Apart from the basic nursing assistant course, staff are expected to undergo their mandatory courses such as Principles of Moving and Handling, Health and Safety at work etc. which are regularly provided for them.

In line with the government regulation we encourage staff to undertake their National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in health and social care once they have finished the basic nursing assistant training which in most cases give them the opportunity to decide whether they want to have a career in healthcare. Please note that healthcare career is a lifelong learning process and we always encourage people who have progressed through Browncross Healthcare to continue to improve themselves.

The core topics covered on the taster or basic nursing assistant course are:

• Introduction to Nursing/Domiciliary Care Practice

• Materials and Equipments used on the ward and their importance

• Nursing Assistant and Patient care

• Infection Control and Basic Food Hygiene

• Common Medications used by patients, documentations and Fluid Chart

• Communication

• Consent, Confidentiality and Abuse

• Equal Opportunity at Work

• Health and Safety

• Basic First Aid

• Measurement of Vital Sign such as Pulse, Blood Pressure, Respiration Rate etc

Students are expected to undertake their CRB/POVA in order to be ready for their practical placement which they undertake under supervision in reputable nursing or residential homes that provide placement places for them. The students are also provided with a list of collated job vacancies with possible prospective employers to call for application forms so that our advisers can assist them with post training application form filling, interview preparation which is done as part of the organizations way of supporting and motivating interested trainees when they would have finished their practical placement.

Please note that the trainees that are not up to standard in class or during their practical are called back to repeat the session.

The Trainees CRB/POVA status are checked by either downloading the POVA from the CRB site or our CRB signatory calling to enquire about the status before they are allowed to go for their practical placement which they undertake under supervision. The trainees will go with their ID card which will be clearly marked Trainee Nursing Assistant, their learning objective which has to be countersigned by their supervisor, their introduction letter and uniform. In order for trainees and prospective staff to have their CRB requested for, they would have to bring some forms of ID such as their passport, driving license, utility statements, NI card etc. The names of the trainees for any particular week would have been faxed to the home they will be training. Please find enclosed copies of Matt's documents.

Please note that this system has assisted so many unemployed people, people not satisfied with their current job, lone parents etc into gainful employment where they continue to learn in order to assist vulnerable people within their communities. Many of the people who have done our course have gone on to do their NVQ in health and social care and occupying senior positions within the organizations they work for, some have done their access to nursing, have gone to university to do Nursing training and are now nurses working for reputable healthcare trusts, good nursing homes and social services. We also have a lot of previous trainees who have used the training opportunity to launch themselves into other related fields, working as pharmacy assistant, medical laboratory assistant, healthcare administrators etc as a result of the improved confidence and knowledge they were able to gain from the nursing assistant training.

We therefore find it patronizing that despite Matt coming to the class and actually praising the quality and presentation of the course to our senior management team and promising that he would not be publishing any article until he has given us the opportunity to see and point out factual inaccuracies, he went ahead and publish a derogatory and defamatory article about the organization and directors in order to frighten the public, damage our reputation so as to sell newspapers.

1) The title of Matt's article was "Mirror goes undercover to expose shocking nursing scandal" had pictures of some of our senior management team both in the paper and the internet.

The management board is concerned about this damaging and defamatory action on some of our management team, the impact this will have on their family members, friends, business clients and revenue of the company. Please note that Browncross Healthcare is bonafide, limited healthcare company registered with the company house, providing healthcare training and employment to people, regulated by governmental regulators, working with reputable healthcare institutions, social services and charitable organizations, uplifting people mainly from the low Social economic class to level where they are able to determine their career and social pathway while caring for vulnerable people within the society.

Matt came for his two week Nursing Assistant training which he was informed comprises of theory in the classroom and practical placement within a nursing or residential home. In addition he was told it was a gateway or taster course which enables trainees to decide whether healthcare career is for them or not before embarking on further career progression such as National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), Access to Nursing etc. Please note that the documentations and information given to Matt and other students for their practical placement clearly showed that they were trainees learning under supervision of qualified staff and not qualified nursing assistant as Matt claimed. Matt informed the senior management team that the quality and presentation of the training was very good but had no choice in the matter of writing and publishing the article because he was carrying out the orders of his editor and that he would wish to go back to Brazil, where he wrote a book about street kids, he was working with for a period of time in the past, as he was not enjoying feature writing. However, he went a head to associate our organization and some of the officers, with his cooked up scandal.

2) He also highlighted "just 22 hours training for a £140 fee..., would you want me to take care of your granny"?

What Matt did not highlight were the important healthcare topics covered during the gateway course and the quality of the lecture which he admitted was very good. He also did not highlight that he was not taking care of the residents but was learning as a trainee nursing assistant to understand how to take care of vulnerable people properly under the supervision of internal staff. In addition, he did not mention that the important topics he learnt during the theory class were to assist him and other trainees to undertake their practical placement confidently under the supervision of trained staff.

The undercover reporter registered for the course on 02/07/08, having paid the £140 registration fee, he joined a class of 13 students on the 7th of July and not the 20students he claimed in his 8th of August article; (Please find copy of the attendance sheet). He also claimed he was not checked whether he had a criminal record. This is not an accurate statement as Browncross Healthcare is an umbrella body with CRB, he paid his CRB/POVA check fee which was requested by Browncross CRB department on the 10th of July 2008 and the company's CRB signatory confirmed that his details did not match any record on the POVA register which means he is not on POVA list. He was informed about this when he visited Browncross office, had a meeting with some of our senior management team and revealed his undercover activities. We have copy of his POVA check. The manager of Avondale Nursing Home was also informed by the CRB signatory that his CRB check had been done.

Please note that the other documents requested and taken from Matt included copies of his British Passport, bank statements and council tax statement in order to proof his identity. It was therefore surprising that he wrongly claimed he was not checked. (Copies of these documents are in Matt's folder)

3) Matt claimed he qualified as an "auxiliary nurse and gained access to vulnerable people".

This is an inaccurate statement because he did not qualify as an auxiliary nurse but was sent for his practical placement as a trainee nursing assistant under the supervision of trained staff, after his theory in class. The trainee status is clearly written on the ID card of students and their introduction letter.

Please note that before Matt or any other trainee can work as a nursing assistant they would have filled the form of the organization they want to work for, stating their experience, would have to be short listed, go through interview and then undergo the organization's induction. It is therefore surprising that Matt elevated himself to a position of a qualified nursing assistant when he has not even been offered a position by any healthcare organization. Please find copies of his ID card and introduction letter stating clearly his status as Trainee Nursing Assistant.

4) Matt claimed to be looking after chronically ill patients in nursing home.

This is another factual inaccuracy because he was sent for his practical placement and was meant to learn under supervision of trained staff which the manager of the home confirmed that was the case as opposed to what Matt reported. Please find a copy of his learning objective and attendance sheet that were countersigned by his supervisors and manager.

5) He also claimed to be given access to prescription drugs".

The trainees are sent to Nursing homes for their practical placement to learn under supervision. Part of the expected duties is to support the staff and patients with varying activities so that when writing up their learning objectives, they would have enough activities to prove that they have done well in their practical placement. Matt was asked to return a sealed medication envelop which the official of the chemist wanted sent back because it was not meant for the home. The manager of the home confirmed that this is one of the activities students are allowed to undertake for their continuous assessment.

Matt also wrote this in his learning objective that he took a pill back to the chemist. This we believe is one of the good activities that would normally let students rate high in their assessment.

It will be apparent that Matt went for the practical placement in order to report something at all cost because he is criticizing Browncross and Avondale for giving him the opportunity to learn and practice what he was thought in theory. Part of trainees' tasks on practical placement is to learn about support/good practice/team work and not just to stand around.

6) He also claimed to be left in charge of guarding an open medication cupboard and left to record a 94 year old fluid intake.

It is further surprising that he claimed to be guarding a cupboard when clearly within a healthcare setting there was no need to guard a medication cupboard as the cupboards would simply be locked. The manager of the home was also surprised about his claim which unfortunately Matt did not record as part of his learning objective.

Please note that one of the major topics Matt learnt in class was fluid balance chart and it was surprising that he is complaining because he was given the opportunity to practicalise what he learnt theoretically. Our opinion is that the home should be congratulated for giving students a good grounding so that they can be useful to themselves and the vulnerable people they are supposed to look after. Please note that Matt was being given opportunities to learn under supervision and whatever he would have recorded on a fluid balance chart would be checked by a trained staff to make sure the right thing was done.

The other side of the coin is if Matt was not given the opportunity to put into practice what he was taught in class, he may have also rubbished the two organizations in his report that we do not give students the opportunity to practice what they were taught in class.

7) "He claimed that he was provided confidential information about patients".

Matt and the others were taught in the class about the importance of confidentiality of patients' information and the consequences of breach of confidentiality. In addition, it was pointed out to them that because they are training under supervision, they will be exposed to patients' information but that they cannot divulge this information or details to anybody that has nothing to do with the care of the patients without the patients consent. It is surprising that someone that calls himself a feature writer would not understand that when training there will be some vital information about patients you may come across but you cannot divulge them because they are confidential even though this was reiterated to all the students in class. Please note that Matt was supposed to be undertaking his practical placement in order to learn properly how to assist vulnerable people.

8) Matt claimed that the spokesperson at Avondale has said they would not have trainees from Browncross.

However this is surprising because the manager believed that Browncross had acted professionally in all our dealings with the home. We have sent trainees whose documents were checked and CRB done and the trainees have been sent to the home to train under supervision. However they were disappointed that despite the assistance and opportunities to learn that Matt was given during his practical placement, he wrote inaccuracies and non factual statements about the two organizations.

Please note that many of our previous trainees sent to different homes for their practical placement end up being short listed, interviewed and employed by some of these home because the managers were impressed about their quality and healthcare knowledge at that level.

9) Matt claimed that the course is unregulated in UK and he would like to get at the government regarding this.

However we pointed out to him that he was not totally right because the government has introduced the NVQ pathway which we normally advise many of the students to undertake when they start working. Please note that NVQ is work based and the essence of the nursing assistant training is to introduce people to healthcare so that they can make up their minds whether or not it is the right career for them. We pointed out that this is more fulfilling and helpful for the healthcare system than just having someone who has no training at all looking after patients, and he agreed with us.

10) "It was written that the health Minister congratulated mirror for highlighting this"

However Matt's presentation was not factual and accurate and so we will be sending a copy of this rebuttal to the minister who possibly will see that we have not done anything wrong but have actually been supporting the healthcare system by providing training by qualified nursing staff and graduates in health sciences so that our vulnerable people are well looked after by people who have been through well structured training process before continuing with their work based NVQ. This is why many unemployed and other people who have accessed Browncross training in the past and currently are going on to become engaged in the society by supporting vulnerable people, contributing their quota to the economy and having a career pathway. Some of them have completed several levels of the NVQ while some have gone further to train in the university and are now qualified nurses. We therefore believe that the congratulation should go to Browncross and the partners such as the homes, trainees are doing their practical placement for the basic nursing assistant course or their NVQ. Please note that Browncross Healthcare have worked with various governmental action teams such as Tower Hamlets and Hackney action teams to assist them with training unemployed people within healthcare and getting them back to employability. In addition we have assisted working links and employment solution to train people referred to us.


11) The reporter claimed that anyone can start work as an auxiliary nurse with little or no experience and anyone can run the training and offer a certificate which will give them a job at the end.

It is rather unfortunate that Matt has twisted facts again because before you work within healthcare like other fields you have to apply for the job, be short listed, go for interview and then have induction if you get the job. It is also funny that he claimed the certificate will get you a job rather than your performance at interview. It is known within the health and social care field that the certificate you get at the end of the course is a certificate of completion or participation just like when you go for a day course such as moving and handling, which will show that you attended the course. Prospective staff can only get job if they are able to convince their interviewer that they are able to do the job they are being recruited for. Therefore as a trainee, Matt is wrong to be equating himself as a qualified nursing assistant as he has not passed through the process of getting a job. He was a trainee nursing assistant under supervision. Please note that in one of Matt's pictures in the article, he was clearly seen with his gloves on (part of infection control lecture) standing with a supervisor. This clarifies the point that he was training under supervision as opposed to his claim of working as a "qualified nursing auxiliary". It is also important to note as pointed out to Matt that the course is provided by a bonafide organization and all our courses are delivered by degree level staff who are either qualified nurses or graduates in health sciences. We will like to reiterate that Matt confirmed to the management team that he was impressed about the quality and presentation of the course. Although he omitted this in his write up.

12) Matt also misrepresented the organization by saying a senior staff said once you get our certificate, you can get job in different healthcare settings.

If Matt had cared to listen properly, removing bias or hunger for news item to report at all cost without due consideration to other parties, he would realise that the tutor Adedokun told the class that it is important to understand the different topics covered and for them to do well during their practical placement as this will assist them tremendously when they are going for job interviews. We will like to reiterate that the certificate trainees will get is a certificate of completion or participation and it is not a certificate that would get you a job but your ability displayed at interview that you can do the job. We would also like to point out that because of our rigorous preparation of our trainees, many of them have had the opportunity of working for various reputable healthcare institutions like NHS hospitals, good nursing and residential homes, social services department etc. We are therefore proud of these candidates and we think the mirror should be proud of Browncross contribution to the regeneration of our communities, support given to our vulnerable adults and the upliftment of many people within the low socioeconomic class rather that putting our efforts down without proper clarification of facts.

13) The reporter claimed that many of the course topics were rushed through in four hours.

However he was given a time table of events when he registered for the course and he knew that it was an intensive course as expressed in the class and his course manual and he praised the trainers for their presentation and quality when he came to reveal himself. We are therefore surprised that he expected a gateway course to have possible indefinite hours or time when it is a known fact that if the hours are too long, it may reduce the trainees' level of interest, as it may be the first opportunity to introduce these students to healthcare if they are not students who are refreshing their knowledge. The response we have been getting from many of our past students include, "Thank you as the course has helped me gain my confidence", Thank you for the good presentation and dissemination of the course, Thanks for your assistance as I have had difficulties with getting a job for some time but since doing the course I have been able to get a good job with good career prospect etc. Our regular end of class survey about the course which we always use to improve our training and services has always been positive. Please note that a sizable number of our previous trainees are graduates in other fields who possibly wanted to change their career to healthcare.

14) "Matt claimed that Adedokun said at the end of the course that there is no difference between you and a qualified nurse", It would therefore be apparent that Matt was either confused or has set his mind on distorting the truth so that he can write a 'sensational article' and possibly be promoted because there is no way that Adedokun who is a registered nurse would say to trainees that they are equal to nurses when he knew that he had to go to university for a number of years in order to qualify as a nurse. Matt was meant to go for his practical placement as a trainee nursing assistant under supervision, who at that stage cannot even be compared with a nursing assistant who has been short listed, interviewed and inducted by an organization. It is therefore surprising that he kept on referring to himself as a 'qualified auxiliary nurse'.

Please note that Matt was informed that his CRB was done, his POVA check was okay and would be provided for him, however he was informed that as an umbrella body and the fact that he came in without appointment we had piles of POVA downloads that we had to go through but he claimed he had to leave before the POVA could be shown to him. It was reiterated that because we are an umbrella body, once the CRB is submitted our CRB signatory can ask for the CRB/POVA and inform the organization the trainee is attending.

15) "We will also like to point out that Matt claimed that there was only one person who knew the emergency number 999".

This was totally inaccurate and an insult to all the trainees in his group.What he did not point out was whether it was only him who knew the number or it was another person, who would then make it two, unless he does not know the emergency number. The truth is that majority of the trainees in class were aware of the emergency number. Please note that one of the students is a gap year medical student who wants to gain experience working within healthcare before going back to university, another worked with a children organization while some were graduates in other fields and Matt is a feature writer. All these people should definitely know the emergency number 999 as confirmed by the tutor.

16) As for his statement that nobody knew the meaning of the word "domiciliary".

This is another factual inaccuracy as ascertained by the tutor. However we believe that if the students were conversant with all healthcare terminologies there would not be any need for them to come to the class to learn. It will also mean that Matt did not know the meaning as he was supposed to be one of the students.

His claim about the question on insulin was also twisted because what the tutor asked the class was if a patient is going to the hospital for admission and has diabetes, what may he/she be on that would need to be taken into consideration during admission? To which some of the students responded Insulin, tablets or diet. Possibly this reporter was not listening properly in class for him to have twisted things around again.

It is true that Browncross is assisting a lot of people within the society to make the next move in their career pathway and many of these people trained by Browncross are presently assisting a lot of vulnerable people within the society. It is unfortunate that Matt misquoted things again to say that Adedokun claimed that we could do more to be recognized by the government when what he said was we are a private organization which would be happy to do more for people within the community and vulnerable people they would be looking after but our resources are limited because we are not government funded and some of the prospective trainees do struggle which is why we only charge them registration fee which does not cover out overhead.

17) He also misquoted Olugbenga in that he claimed he boasted that we are helping reducing criminality because we are based in town hamlets.

We believe this is an unfortunate and inflammatory statement coming from someone who calls himself a journalist because there was no time that Olugbenga said that. What he said when he cam in at the tail end of the undercover reporter's meeting with colleagues was to reiterate the quality of the course which Matt agreed was very good, well presented and informative. Matt mentioned that he has no problem with the training if things were down to him. He was informed that many of our previous trainees have gone on to do good for themselves and the vulnerable people they look after within their community. Many of them are undertaking their NVQ, occupying senior positions where they are working, many have gone back to the university to do their nursing training and that is why Browncross Healthcare employment division is working with many reputable healthcare institutions.

Olugbenga informed the reporter that many of our course participants may be from a poor background or communities and the course has been assisting them to move forward in life. We have trainees coming from various parts of London, suburbs and our local community, Tower Hamlets. Matt was also reminded about what he was thought in class about abuse and the consequences of abusing a patient and that the government introduction of CRB/POVA check would assist in reducing criminal or abuse of patients.

It was reiterated that we have been operating as a training and employment organization for a good number of years and have always been working effectively with our regulators and governmental action teams such as Tower Hamlets, Hackney action teams, Employment Solutions and Working Link etc that we have assisted to train people e.g. unemployed, lone parents etc within healthcare and get them back to work.

In view of all the above stated facts, we are therefore sending you this rebuttal to show our dissatisfaction about our company and directors being smeared, defamed and captioned under scandal when what the organization and the staff are about is trying to contribute their positive quota in the area of community regeneration, supporting vulnerable people to achieve dignity and independence whilst developing people within the community to positively embrace healthcare, give themselves a chance of career progression so as to support themselves and vulnerable people adequately.

We therefore believe that an organization like Browncross with aims and objectives of supporting the community and government with provision of motivated and quality people in one of the lowest paid, important field should be encouraged and supported by a paper like mirror, in our continuous efforts to provide adequate assistance for our vulnerable people rather than been put down.

Please note we continue to achieve these aims and objectives at all times; due to the quality of service we give to our clients, a fact realized through the positive feedback we receive from previous student, staff, Managers, reputable home administrators, clients/family members and our regulator.

We are always prepared to be reasonable in our dealings with individuals and organisations because our focus is to care for people. We are therefore seeking an unreserved apology from the reporter to Browncross Healthcare and Avondale Nursing Home, in writing and to be published in the Daily Mirror. We would also expect this unfair and offending article to be removed from the internet.

Management Board, Browncross Healthcare Limited

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Browncross Healthcare Limited

Registered in England and Wales no.4263677, VAT Reg. No :811570554

Register Office: 120A Commercial Road, London E1 1NL

Tel: 020 7680 1488, 020 7488 4966; Fax: 020 7488 2214

Registered by CSCI

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