THOUSANDS of older people could be being abused in care homes a Bury MP has warned.

More than 740 allegations of abuse in care homes in the borough were made in the last five years, according to official figures.

Allegations have increased in number year-on-year in the Bury local authority area ­— jumping by 84 per cent from 99 in 2014 to 182 in 2018.

This trend has also played out across the North West and nationally.

Bury North MP, James Frith, said he was “shocked” by the figures, adding that they show “an alarming rise in complaints of abuse.”

The data was revealed by the minister of state for health and social care, Caroline Dinenage, after being questioned by Mr Frith.

The MP had sought to determine the extent of the problem following the deaths of six elderly residents of Elizabeth House in Walshaw Road who contracted infections in January.

Mr Frith said he has also seen a rise in the number of complaints to his office about care received by care home residents ­— which he believes suggests a wider problem.

This prompted him to ask the Government about care home abuse complaints, closures, the current inspection regime and complaints process.

Mr Firth said: “Clearly the Care Quality Commission inspection regime needs to be examined to ensure it is fit for purpose and the Government needs to urgently look at the wider issue.

“Potentially thousands of older people are being abused in care homes and the Government appears to be doing very little to tackle the problem.”

Several high profile cases of abuse and alleged abuse of vulnerable people have been reported in Bury in recent years.

In 2014, two care workers were jailed after they were caught on hidden cameras verbally abusing and slapping a brain damaged patient at a specialist hospital in Bury.

And in 2017 a former nursing home worker was suspended after being accused of abusing an elderly dementia sufferer at a Bury care home.

A department of health and social care spokesperson said: “Abuse of vulnerable people is abhorrent and we expect all care homes to protect their residents.

“To ensure this happens we have introduced robust inspections of care services and made sure that the police, councils and the NHS are working together to help protect vulnerable adults.

“We are committed to ensuring adult social care in England is high quality, safe and compassionate, and 84% of providers are rated as good or outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.

“We will outline plans for reform at the earliest opportunity to ensure the sector is sustainable for the future.”

Regulation and monitoring of care homes is carried out by the independent watch dog The Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The body regularly inspects and rates care homes to ensure they meet a series of “fundamental standards”.

These standards include safeguarding from abuse such as neglect, degrading treatment, unnecessary or disproportionate restraint, or inappropriate limits on freedom.

If a care home falls short of these standards the CQC can take action, including placing the provider in special measures, issuing cautions or fines, and prosecuting cases if people are “harmed or placed in danger of harm”.

Kate Terroni, chief inspector of adult social care said: “We encourage all people using adult social care services to speak up about their experiences of care.

“Hearing directly from people is an important part of our inspection work and contributes to driving improvements in standards, as well as helping us identify where poor care has taken place.

“We have taken more action and undertaken more responsive reviews as a result of the concerns raised.

“We take every allegation of abuse extremely seriously and will take appropriate enforcement action where necessary.

“We will do all we can to ensure the social care system provides safe and compassionate care.”