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Care Home Abuse In Bristol

Care Home Abuse In Bristol

A BBC Panorama documentary has uncovered shocking levels of abuse at a Bristol care home.

Winterbourne View, a residential hospital for those with autism and learning difficulties, has caused a scandal in the healthcare industry after undercover footage revealed a distressing pattern of ill-treatment.

Secretly filmed by a reporter earlier this year, the footage shows staff routinely abusing vulnerable adults over a five-week period. Patients are slapped, punched, teased, dragged into the shower fully clothed and doused with cold water. There are also incidents of unacceptable physical restraint, with a patient being pinned to the floor with a chair being one such example.

Clinical psychologist Andrew McDonnell has described the images captured on film as “torture”, saying it showcases “the worst kind of institutional care...the kind of thing that was prevalent in the 1960s, and led Britain to gradually close the large, long-stay institutions.”

The hospital's operator Castlebeck has apologised unreservedly for the disgraceful behaviour of staff, stating it was “distressed” and “shocked” by the documentary. Thirteen hospital staff have been suspended, while four people (three men, one woman) have been arrested by Avon and Somerset Police in an on-going investigation.

All patients have currently been removed from the residential home, the fate of which remains uncertain. Castlebeck, who are reportedly paid around £3,500 a week per patient, states it is in “active consultation” with the necessary authorities regarding the hospital's future.

An independent review of the company will also be carried out, questioning how such systematic failings can occur in a care home funded by the taxpayer. This will include a review of all the records of the 580 patients to have passed through privately-run Winterbourne View. Other factors, such as why a complaint made by a former nurse in October last year was not followed up, will also be looked in to.

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