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BBC Panorama abuse carehome 'should be shut down'

Guest howyousawtheworld

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Guest howyousawtheworld

The care home where it is alleged "barbaric" staff routinely abused vulnerable adults with learning difficulties should be closed down, according to disability charities.


[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLUKYtkRbMA&feature=player_embedded]YouTube - ‪Panorama BBC Undercover Care (31/5/11) Part 2‬‏[/ame]


Mark Goldring, chief executive of learning disability charity Mencap, said the treatment of patients at Winterbourne View, in Bristol, was "horrific" and seemed "like torture".

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The behaviour of the individuals was cruel and barbaric and the management seemed to be either complicit or non-existent.

"So it was scandalous and the home should be shut down."

The arrests and suspensions of staff were not sufficient, he added.

"There had been a prosecution in the same home just a few months beforehand and I think the whole level of supervision, right through within the home itself and from the authorities, had failed," he said.


Avon and Somerset police launched a probe and arrested four people after undercover footage of the apparent misconduct was recorded by investigators from BBC's Panorama programme.

The hospital's operator Castlebeck said it was "distressed" and "shocked" by the accusations that workers physically and verbally abused residents on a daily basis.

The Panorama investigation, broadcast last night, found that staff at the care home bullied and assaulted residents on a daily basis, leading to 13 of them being suspended.

Three men and one woman had been arrested, the police said.

Footage recorded by an undercover reporter shows staff goading patients to commit suicide, punching and slapping them in the face, subjecting them to cold showers and pinning them to the ground with chairs.

The investigation also found that a whistle-blower had previously reported abuse to both managers at the home and the Care Quality Commission, the official watchdog. Both failed to act.

The abuse took place at a care home for adults with autism and learning disabilities run by Castlebeck, a company which has a £90 million turnover and runs more than 50 other care homes. The company charges the NHS and local authorities up to £3,500 a week to care for patients.

The most serious abuse was carried out by a senior member of staff called Wayne, who Panorama decided not to name in full. During one incident a woman attempted to commit suicide by jumping out the window.

As she lay on the floor after the attempt, Wayne leaned over her and said: "Go on, do it now I'm here. You will go flying. When you hit the floor do you reckon you will make a thud or a splat? Come on I'll keep it open for ya. I like watching you lot try to jump, you haven't got a clue."

In another incident Wayne restrained Simone, an 18-year-old who suffers from a genetic abnormality, by pinning her down under his chair for half an hour. Another member of staff holds her in a headlock, despite the fact she shows no signs of resistance.

After the incident Wayne tells the undercover reporter: "The only things you have to watch out for if you do do this is make sure you don't have her pinched underneath the chair. I pinched her skin and sat on it and left a bit of a mark."

The footage also shows Simone being subjected to two cold showers in a single day with staff pouring mouthwash and shampoo over her she screams, saying: "It's cold mum".

That afternoon, with temperatures just above freezing, Wayne is filmed taking Simone into the garden and pouring a jug of cold water over her head. He only relents and takes her inside after she lies listlessly on the ground, convulsing with cold.

When Simone is unable to sleep that night staff repeatedly pour cold water over her in the corridor, before holding a cold fan to her face.

The day ends with staff dragging her into her room and forcing her to take a paracetamol while Graham, another member of staff, plays the role of German commandant shouting: "Nein, nein, nein". Despite the serious nature of the abuse Kelvin, a senior nurse, refuses to intervene.

Simon, a 37-year-old with a mental age of four, is also singled out for abuse by staff. In one "boxing" game a member of staff repeatedly hits him in the face until he says "ding ding".

Professor Jim Mansell, the author of the government's policy on disability care, said: "The staff don't think that these are human beings just like them otherwise they wouldn't be able to do what they're doing. This is the worst kind of institutional care, it's the kind of thing that was prevalent in the 60s."

Terry Bryan, the whistle-blower who previously worked as a senior nurse at the home, said: "These are all people who have got families. Nobody gets to see what goes on in there. They'd be horrified if they knew."

Mr Bryan complained to managers about the abuse and named several staff members, including Wayne, but no action was taken. He also complained to the Care Quality Commission which failed to intervene.

Ian Biggs, the commission's South West regional director, said: "There was an opportunity we missed and that meant that suffering and cruelty was potentially prolonged. We missed that chance and we're very sorry for that."

Company officials said they had not seen the footage ahead of last night's programme, but were made aware about its contents on May 12.

"Castlebeck immediately notified the police, Care Quality Commission (CQC), the local Safeguarding team, commissioners of the service, other relevant authorities, and the families of the patients named in the allegations," said a statement released by the firm.

"Staff alleged to have behaved inappropriately were suspended and reported to the police, who are now investigating."

Lee Reed, chief executive of Castlebeck, said: "What should have happened at the time was the staff named in those allegations that the former employee made should have been suspended, but they weren't."

Castlebeck was founded in 1987 and offers specialist healthcare and rehabilitation to vulnerable people, including men and women with autism, learning disabilities, behavioural and mental health problems.

It employs 2,100 people, providing care for 580 service users at 56 facilities nationwide.





Was watching this Panorama last night with my parents. Definitely one of the most shocking and upsetting things I have ever seen on tv. It's hard to believe how anything like that is allowed to happen in such countries like the UK.

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