Four arrested after Panorama exposes disability abuse

Four people have been arrested after the BBC revealed shocking abuse at a hospital for people with learning disabilities.

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Four people have been arrested after the BBC revealed shocking abuse at a hospital for people with learning disabilities.

Last night BBC Panorama screened secret filming of people with learning disabilities being choked, pushed and taunted by members of staff at the Winterbourne View hospital, owned by Castlebeck in Bristol.

The abuse came to light after a member of staff blew the whistle but his appeals were ignored by company management and the Care Quality Commission, so he approached the BBC.

Both the CQC and Castlebeck have apologised for not acting earlier.

Three men and one woman have been arrested on suspicion of assault and mistreatment under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and all have been released on police bail pending further investigation.

Castlebeck has now suspended two members of managerial staff and eleven frontline staff while investigating their conduct.

Lee Reed, Castlebeck’s chief executive, said: “I was shocked, disgusted and ashamed by what I saw on Panorama last night. Having spent my entire career in health and social care, I intend to leave no stone unturned to ensure that this type of horrific event is never allowed to happen again.”

Castlebeck has now commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to undertake a thorough review of the medical procedures, culture and communications across the entire company.

The report will be completed within 30 days and the recommendations implemented in full.

Meanwhile, the CQC has taken steps to stop any new admissions to the hospital and is reviewing its own response to the allegations, which the CQC were informed about in December last year.

The future of the hospital is currently in discussion.

“Unfortunately this is not a one-off case,” said Mencap chief executive Mark Goldring. “There is a history of abuse scandals that have been made public, such as those in Sutton and Merton, and Cornwall in 2007. Institutional care means that quite often people with a learning disability live far away from friends and family who care for them, so there is no one to notice any disturbing behaviour. People who need specialist care must be better protected, instead of being kept out of sight and out of mind.

What do you think? Have your say on CareSpace.

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