Care Home Abuse Footage from Undercover BBC Reporter Sparks Investigation
The UK government has ordered an urgent review of the inhumane abuse of adults with learning disabilities at the Winterbourne View Hospital. The issue came to light after an undercover reporter filmed the abuse during a 5-week stretch in February and March, which was then showed on BBC Panorama. The footage shows the carers taunting, slapping and punching the patients.
Winterbourne View is a privately-run hospital that is taxpayer funded. It has a staff of 50 people, who care for up to 24 patients. After the footage was released, Avon and Somerset police arrested 4 people in connection with the abuse - a 24-year-old woman and 3 men aged 25, 30 and 42. However, another 13 staff - including 2 managers - have been suspended by hospital owner Castlebeck. The company’s chief executive, Lee Reed, says that he was shocked and ashamed of the footage he saw and will do all he can to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.
It’s also been revealed that a former nurse at Winterbourne View complained about the abuse to managers in October, but the issue never reached the Castlebeck chief executive or board members due to delays. Social care services regulator Care Quality Commission (CQC) has also revealed getting a complaint in December from the same person, but they believed local authorities were looking into the situation. They recognise that they would have known the extent of the issue and moved swiftly to inspect the hospital if they had contacted the whistleblower themselves.
Care services minister Paul Burstow has ordered a thorough investigation of the role that CQC and local authorities have played in the case. He has also asked the regulator to conduct unannounced inspections of similar services.