Private care company Castlebeck has gone into administration almost two years after a BBC programme exposed serious abuse and neglect at one of its hospitals.
BBC Panorama secretly filmed care workers abusing patients with learning disabilities at the now-closed Winterbourne View hospital near Bristol, broadcasting the exposé in May 2011.
Eleven nurses and support workers were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court in October 2012 after admitting to a combined total of 38 charges of ill-treating patients. Some were jailed for periods of up to two years.
In a statement on the Castlebeck website yesterday, Daniel Smith, a partner of administrators Grant Thornton, said: “The Winterbourne View facility abuse incident led to the immediate closure of that hospital in mid-2011, with the group promptly undertaking a root and branch internal review of its Castlebeck operations.
“The group implemented changes in corporate and operating governance together with comprehensive compliance and regulatory improvements to ensure appropriate quality care provision to its patients and residents.”
However, he added that the closure of two further units in 2011 and reduced occupancy had “significantly diluted Castlebeck’s subsequent trading capabilities”.
Grant Thornton will now begin seeking buyers for the remaining Castlebeck facilities. Smith said a number of prospective purchasers had already shown interest in acquiring the individual Castlebeck units, which will continue to operate and trade normally in the meantime.
In a joint statement, the Department of Health, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) and the NHS Commissioning Board, said: “Whether or not buyers are found for all the facilities, the ongoing care of patients and residents will be the priority and Castlebeck and the administrators are committed to working with local commissioners to ensure safe transfer ownership of facilities and continuity of care for individuals.”
The statement continued: “Some of the residents should already be having their care needs reviewed as part of the response to the Winterbourne report and authorities should not make any immediate changes to their plans for reviews or care plans arising from these reviews.”
Adass president Sarah Pickup added: “The care of the current patients and residents of Castlebeck homes is our priority.”
Castlebeck operates care facilities for high dependency learning disability and mental health patients and residents from 20 sites located in the Midlands, North East and Scotland. It currently provides services for 214 people in total.