Care services minister Paul Burstow has ordered investigations into regulator and safeguarding failings by the Care Quality Commission and local authorities in relation to the abuse of learning disabled people exposed by Panorama yesterday.
Burstow said there had been “failures of inspection and adult protection which have exposed people to appalling abuse” at Winterbourne View, a 24-bed hospital run by Castlebeck.
The CQC has already launched an internal investigation into its failure to respond to concerns raised by a whistleblower last November, while a serious case review has been initiated by South Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board.
However, the inquiries ordered by Burstow appear to be in addition to these though the details are yet to be worked out. It is not known which other local authorities will be investigated other than South Gloucestershire Council, the lead adult safeguarding agency for the area covering Winterbourne View.
“I have already ordered a thorough examination of the roles of both CQC and the local authorities in this case,” said Burstow. “I am determined to strengthen the system of safeguarding to protect vulnerable adults from abuse.”
South Gloucestershire Council was informed by the hospital’s manager of concerns raised by the whistleblower – a former staff member – last November, but a safeguarding meeting could not be convened until February. The initial concerns were not as “specific or detailed” as the abuse identified by Panorama in its programme last night, according to the CQC.
Burstow has also asked the CQC to carry out a series of unannounced inspections of several hospitals providing care for people with learning disabilities.
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