Winterbourne View sparks extra scrutiny of care settings

Learning disability and other hospital providers are facing extra scrutiny in light of the alleged abuse exposed at Winterbourne View (pictured).

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Learning disability and other hospital providers are facing extra scrutiny in light of the alleged abuse exposed at Winterbourne View.

Commissioners have cracked down on hospitals, increasing their visits since the Panorama programme first aired in late May, providers have said.

“There’s definitely been an increased level of activity in this area across all providers,” said Mark Goldsborough, manager at Milton Park Hospital, a Brookdale Care service for people with autism.

“Shortly after the Panorama programme, as well as an unannounced inspection from the Care Quality Commission, we had a joint visit with the local safeguarding team. The visit was clearly a reaction to the troubling events shown on the programme, which I think is a really positive thing.”

There has also been extra scrutiny in Derbyshire, where Winterbourne View provider Castlebeck has several care settings.

“I’m aware of some local authorities that have made sure to look into the conditions of their learning disabilities hospitals following the Panorama programme,” said Yvonne Furze, regional development manager at the Association for Real Change, which represents learning disability providers.

“I know that Derbyshire Council checked on everybody it had in learning disability institutions and organised an immediate review of all placements. If the partnership board hadn’t done that, I know family carers would have raised questions. I imagine a lot of other local authorities are taking the same action.”

Furze said Derbyshire had paid special attention to residents it had in institutions run by Castlebeck. These residents, she said, had told the authority that they were happy where they were and have remained in those homes.

Last week, Castlebeck announced plans to close a third learning disability service, Arden Vale in Solihull, after the CQC uncovered safeguarding failings.

The CQC inspected all 23 Castlebeck sites in England after the Panorama programme was aired in May.

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