Commissioners withdraw residents from Castlebeck facilities

Commissioners have withdrawn people with learning disabilities from Castlebeck facilities following safety concerns after the uncovering of alleged abuse at the provider's Winterbourne View hospital.

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Commissioners have withdrawn people with learning disabilities from Castlebeck facilities following safety concerns after the uncovering of alleged abuse at the provider’s Winterbourne View hospital.

So far, five service users have been withdrawn from Castlebeck facilities after BBC Panorama exposed alleged abuse at Winterbourne View on 31 May, sparking inquiries into agency failures and a criminal investigation.

Castlebeck chief executive Lee Reed said further commissioners may yet withdraw people from their services. Speaking to Community Care, he said: “Following the Panorama screening virtually every commissioner came to our units in some way or another; we’ve had a lot of scrutiny and I will watch with interest what happens now.”

He confirmed the company has also stopped taking admissions at four services where the Care Quality Commission is taking enforcement action.

A report by the regulator into 23 of Castlebeck’s services, released yesterday, said poor practice at Castlebeck facilities resulted from inadequate governance and oversight of services. This included there being no system to communicate senior management decisions on improving quality to service managers.

Reed said the company was undergoing a complete revamp to address the accountability failings.

“I think the company grew quicker than the infrastructure did to support it,” he admitted.

“Operational directors were not able to provide the level of oversight which I think is appropriate. [One director] was trying to look after 15 units spread from Lincolnshire to Bristol and all things in between – that’s a big ask,” he said.

However, Reed denied that the expansion was just to chase profits and said it was driven by a desire to meet the needs of service commissioners.

Reed said he was bringing in an additional 10 senior managers to boost oversight. The company will now have five regions as opposed to three, with regional directors overseeing a more manageable four or five services each.

The company will also appoint leads for audit and governance and senior nursing roles in each region. Reed said he hoped the changes would mean that problems at the frontline were communicated more effectively to corporate management, who could then take action to address them.

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