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BBC Panorama Whorlton Hall - Page 5 - Carers UK Forum

BBC Panorama Whorlton Hall

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
Article from Teeside Live ... local woman caught up in this :

Independent review launched into Whorlton Hall to explore alleged abuse of vulnerable patients.

The 10 people arrested included a staff member from Stockton

An independent review is being launched to find out how the alleged abuse of vulnerable patients in a private hospital could have happened after "opportunities to intervene were missed".

A Stockton worker was one of 10 members of staff arrested after an investigation by BBC Panorama at Whorlton Hall hospital, near Barnard Castle in County Durham.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) health watchdog ordered the investigation after the programme appeared to show staff mocking, taunting, intimidating and repeatedly restraining patients.

Panorama went undercover between December and February.

Durham Police said the investigation included allegations of physical and psychological abuse of patients.

The CQC also apologised after it rated the hospital "good" following an inspection in 2017.

David Noble has been commissioned by the CQC to undertake an independent review into how it dealt with concerns raised in relation to the regulation of Whorlton Hall.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "It is clear that opportunities to intervene were missed and we must be open and transparent in getting to the bottom of why this happened.

"I have become increasingly concerned by evidence of poor care experienced by some of society's most vulnerable people."

The CQC said: "The review will focus in particular on concerns raised about the draft report prepared in 2015, and how they were addressed through CQC's internal processes.

"CQC is also commissioning a wider review of its regulation of Whorlton Hall between 2015 and 2019, which will include recommendations for how its regulation of similar services can be improved, in the context of a raised level of risk of abuse and harm."

Earlier this month, the Government apologised for the treatment of patients with autism and learning disabilities at Whorlton Hall.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Health Minister Caroline Dinenage told MPs: "On behalf of the health and care system, I am deeply sorry that this has happened."

She said the actions revealed by the Panorama programme were "quite simply appalling".

Ms Dinenage said she "utterly condemned" the actions which led to "incredibly traumatic experiences of vulnerable people with a learning disability and autism at Whorlton Hall".

A sense of crocodile tears and under statements ... on par with the reaction to Grenfell Tower ?

One word missing so far ... CRIMINAL !

SORRY ... cuts no ice in cases like this one !
Whorlton Hall abuse : Care watchdog wrong not to publish critical 2015 report.

The care watchdog was wrong not to publish an inspection report raising concerns about Whorlton Hall, four years before a Panorama investigation suggested alleged abuse, a review says.

Former Care Quality Commission inspector Barry Stanley-Wilkinson said not publishing his 2015 report was a "missed opportunity" to prevent abuse.

Last year's undercover filming appeared to show patients with learning difficulties being mistreated.

Ten workers were later arrested.

The County Durham hospital, which has now been closed, treated patients with severe learning difficulties and autism.

The CQC commissioned David Noble QSO to carry out an independent review into how it dealt with the concerns raised by Mr Stanley-Wilkinson's draft inspection report and how they were addressed by senior personnel.

The unpublished 2015 report found the hospital, near Barnard Castle, "required improvement", raising a number of concerns, including inadequate staffing levels, a lack of training and a failure to follow patients' care plans.

But a subsequent report the following year gave the privately-run, NHS-funded unit an overall rating of "good".

The Noble review makes seven recommendations relating to the security and availability of notes from CQC inspections, information provided to inspectors about services, and the internal whistleblowing processes of the CQC.

It said one of the main reasons Mr Stanley-Wilkinson's report was not published was that it was considered to be "not of publishable quality" and lacked evidence to back up some of the findings.

But Mr Stanley-Wilkinson, who later resigned from the CQC, said the failure to publish his 2015 report "was a missed opportunity to potentially prevent the abusive practices that we saw in the Panorama documentary".

He said: "I'm still struggling to understand why that inspection report was never published.

"The CQC has said there wasn't sufficient evidence within the report. I was never asked to make any further amendments, I was never asked to supplement the report with further evidence.

"For them to say there was insufficient evidence within the report, that wasn't the responsibility of just my managers to make that decision, it was the responsibility of a quality panel to make that decision.

"But it never went to a quality panel."

Sir Stephen Bubb, who wrote a report into the Winterbourne View scandal, said: "In 2014 I recommended that the government close these institutions. They are by their nature abusive and I said we needed to develop community facilities.

"The government accepted that report but have done very little about it.

"You need don't need more reviews. You need action to close them."

Whorlton Hall had at least 100 visits by official agencies in the year before the abuse was discovered.

A separate review of the CQC's regulation of the hospital between 2015 and 2019 has yet to be published.

Danshell Group ran the 17-bed hospital unit in 2015 and was taken over by Cygnet in 2018. Cygnet said it was "shocked and deeply saddened" by the abuse allegations.


The undercover Panorama filming at Whorlton Hall shook the sector. It came eight years after an expose at a similar facility, Winterbourne View.

That scandal prompted ministers, inspectors and senior people in the learning disability sector to promise it would not happen again.

People would be moved out of these type of units and tougher regulation would ensure these vulnerable patients were treated with dignity and respect.

So the fact that warnings over the care being provided at Whorlton Hall went unheeded seems unforgiveable and prompt even more questions about how these institutions are regulated.

After the BBC programme was aired, the Care Quality Commission claimed it was incredibly difficult to spot the signs of problems in the closed cultures that characterise these sort of institutions.

But it is now clear the evidence the CQC needed to prompt them to take a closer look was under their noses all along.

If the concerns of Barry Stanley-Wilkinson had been acted on, his bosses at the Care Quality Commission would surely have been compelled to keep a closer eye on what was going on at Whorlton Hall long before the BBC did.
It's time there was much more protection for those with learning difficulties and autism, along the lines of CSCI.
They investigated any complaint immediately, CQC say they look for "trends" and even when I told them my son was having a rubbish service, they chose to ignore it.
For three long years he was unhappy, our complaints were ignored, until CQC investigated a home near Southampton run by the same company which found that all the problems I was having were going on there too!
The lack of any independent scrutiny of clients money is incredibly worrying. In my county, a few years ago, a Mencap home was made to pay back over £60,000 to a few clients who had been systematically financially abused for years. Nevertheless, all my complaints of financial abuse were ignored, and even when an auditor appointed by the council found £2,500 had vanished over a 10 month period, the council did nothing!