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BBC One's Panorama will tomorrow feature allegations of physical and psychological abuse by staff at Whorlton Hall independent hospital, officials have confirmed. 

 

A BBC One episode of Panorama, due to be aired tomorrow, will feature allegations of physical and psychological abuse by staff at Whorlton Hall, near Barnard Castle, officials have confirmed.

 

The Mercury revealed this month how a number of staff from Whorlton Hall, which cares for people living with learning disabilities and complex needs, were suspended while police investigate alleged abuse.

 

The BBC has scheduled a programme, called Hospital Abuse Scandal, to be screened on Wednesday, May 22, at 9pm.

Durham County Council today confirmed that this programme, which is due to last an hour, will feature Whorlton Hall.

 

Jane Robinson, corporate director for adult and health services, sent a communication to staff informing them of the programme.

In her email, she said: “We have been made aware that the BBC is planning to broadcast an episode of Panorama on Wednesday, 22 May at 9pm, regarding allegations of physical and psychological abuse by staff at Whorlton Hall independent hospital, in Barnard Castle. These are currently the subject of a police investigation.

 

“I would like to reassure you that the welfare and wellbeing of patients remains paramount and that we are working very closely with our NHS partners, the provider and the police with regard to this.

 

“I would ask that if you are approached by a member of the public regarding the claims, that you advise them that the council is aware of the allegations and that we are working closely with our partners to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of patients. However, as this is a criminal matter, we are unable to say anything further.”

 

Staff were advised not to speak to the media.

 

It is understood the NHS has briefed MP Helen Goodman. Police say they are unable to comment further. 

 

A description of the BBC programme, which was referred to by Durham County Council, has been made available on the BBC’s website. The BBC declined to comment further on the programme’s content.

 

In a previous statement, Cygnet Health Care, which runs the home, said: “We take these allegations extremely seriously. We have informed all the relevant authorities, including the Care Quality Commission, NHS commissioning authorities, social workers and the police, who are conducting an investigation.

 

“Whorlton Hall is currently closed to new admissions. We have transferred staff from our other facilities to ensure the safe care and protection of the hospital’s patients.”

 

 

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7 hours ago, lifetime fan said:

BBC One's Panorama will tomorrow feature allegations of physical and psychological abuse by staff at Whorlton Hall independent hospital, officials have confirmed. 

 

A BBC One episode of Panorama, due to be aired tomorrow, will feature allegations of physical and psychological abuse by staff at Whorlton Hall, near Barnard Castle, officials have confirmed.

 

The Mercury revealed this month how a number of staff from Whorlton Hall, which cares for people living with learning disabilities and complex needs, were suspended while police investigate alleged abuse.

 

The BBC has scheduled a programme, called Hospital Abuse Scandal, to be screened on Wednesday, May 22, at 9pm.

Durham County Council today confirmed that this programme, which is due to last an hour, will feature Whorlton Hall.

 

Jane Robinson, corporate director for adult and health services, sent a communication to staff informing them of the programme.

In her email, she said: “We have been made aware that the BBC is planning to broadcast an episode of Panorama on Wednesday, 22 May at 9pm, regarding allegations of physical and psychological abuse by staff at Whorlton Hall independent hospital, in Barnard Castle. These are currently the subject of a police investigation.

 

“I would like to reassure you that the welfare and wellbeing of patients remains paramount and that we are working very closely with our NHS partners, the provider and the police with regard to this.

 

“I would ask that if you are approached by a member of the public regarding the claims, that you advise them that the council is aware of the allegations and that we are working closely with our partners to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of patients. However, as this is a criminal matter, we are unable to say anything further.”

 

Staff were advised not to speak to the media.

 

It is understood the NHS has briefed MP Helen Goodman. Police say they are unable to comment further. 

 

A description of the BBC programme, which was referred to by Durham County Council, has been made available on the BBC’s website. The BBC declined to comment further on the programme’s content.

 

In a previous statement, Cygnet Health Care, which runs the home, said: “We take these allegations extremely seriously. We have informed all the relevant authorities, including the Care Quality Commission, NHS commissioning authorities, social workers and the police, who are conducting an investigation.

 

“Whorlton Hall is currently closed to new admissions. We have transferred staff from our other facilities to ensure the safe care and protection of the hospital’s patients.”

 

 

 

Perfect timing considering the new changes coming in for DoLS. 

 

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11 minutes ago, Seasons said:

 

Perfect timing considering the new changes coming in for DoLS. 

 

 

It’s more focused on the Transforming Care review the government promised after Winterbourne View 8 years ago. 

 

But it should definitely highlight a number of issues including DoLS as you say. 

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Eight years ago I worked with a team at BBC One's Panorama programme to reveal terrible physical abuse at a hospital for vulnerable adults on the outskirts of Bristol, called Winterbourne View. 

 

People with learning disabilities or autism were filmed by our undercover reporter being kicked, punched, mocked and mistreated by people paid to care for them. 

 

As the producer of that film, I worked with whistleblowers to gather evidence, hired the undercover reporter and oversaw his filming. 

 

Nearly a dozen people who had worked at Winterbourne View were prosecuted afterwards as a result of our evidence. The abuse was terrible, as was the betrayal of trust. 

 

After our film was broadcast, the then Prime Minister David Cameron, the then minister for care, Norman Lamb, and the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats committed to shutting specialist hospitals and moving people closer to their families. 

 

That should have been the moment that the lives of thousands of people with learning disabilities or autism, whose behaviour some services struggle with, changed forever. 

 

Instead, though, we have been told that the political promise has been first watered down and then broken. 

Nearly 2,300 people with learning disabilities or autism are still in such hospitals, often far from home and for much longer than is appropriate.

 

Hospitals are not places where people should live - and yet today they still are. 

Hospital 'abused' vulnerable adults 

'Psychological torture'

 

Last year, a series of new whistleblowers approached BBC Panorama, complaining about the culture, attitude and behaviour of a group of care workers at a different hospital for vulnerable adults, called Whorlton Hall in County Durham. 

 

They told us that care workers were bullying and mistreating patients. 

That sort of behaviour should never happen in any hospital, and certainly not after all the promises that were made after Winterbourne View. 

 

Worse, eight years ago Whorlton Hall, which is privately-run but NHS-funded, had been owned by the same company as Winterbourne View.

 

One of the families affected by Winterbourne View told us they were shocked a hospital which used to be part of the same group could also be abusive. 

Image captionOlivia Davies went undercover to investigate the allegations

I contacted a talented young journalist named Olivia Davies who had already been undercover twice for the BBC. 

 

I asked if she would be prepared to work inside the hospital as a care worker while also, at the same time, gathering evidence for the BBC. 

 

Olivia agreed and worked 12-hour shifts, often back to back, over more than two months, wearing a camera hidden in her top. 

 

The patients whose care - and too often neglect or cruelty - that Olivia documented are some of the most vulnerable but also challenging people in the country. 

 

Olivia loved spending time with the patients, but that made her unusual among the staff at Whorlton Hall, most of whom seemed to ignore the people they are paid to care for. 

 

Too many care workers actively aggravated, tormented and talked about patients in the most appalling ways. 

The taunting and deliberate winding up of patients was almost unbearable to witness, as was the language and attitude. 

 

Experts who reviewed our footage said that in one case what Olivia had filmed was evidence of psychological torture. Another patient was frequently deliberately provoked by staff. 

Olivia witnessed patients being physically restrained. 

 

Something that should only be a last resort is used too often and NHS figures show that its use is increasing. 

 

The practice of holding distressed people down, often on the floor and sometimes for long periods of time, is horrible to witness and even worse to endure. 

 

It shouldn't have happened again. The government should have fixed these issues, eight years ago. 

 

We asked Health Secretary Matt Hancock for an interview about the wider issues, but his press office told us: "We treat any allegations of abuse with the utmost seriousness. 

"Durham Constabulary are now leading a criminal investigation into the allegations and we cannot comment on the investigation while it is ongoing. Steps have been taken to ensure the safety of residents at Whorlton Hall.

 

"Autistic people and those with learning disabilities should receive the best possible care and be supported to live in their communities. 

 

"We are working to ensure more people return home from hospital as soon as their treatment has finished and significant investment in community support has already led to a 22% reduction in these mental health inpatient numbers since 2015."

 

Cygnet, the company which now owns Whorlton Hall, said: "We are shocked and deeply saddened by the allegations made against members of staff at Whorlton Hall, part of the Danshell Group, which Cygnet recently acquired. 

"We take these allegations extremely seriously. We have suspended all the members of staff involved, simultaneously informed all relevant authorities, including the police, who have now instigated an inquiry and we are co-operating fully with their investigation. 

 

"We have taken the initiative of transferring all the patients to other hospitals. 

 

"The safety and care of our patients and residents is of paramount importance and we have zero tolerance of unprofessional conduct towards them. 

"Those implicated in this programme have betrayed not only some of society's most vulnerable people but also the thousands of people at Cygnet who work daily with dedication and compassion to look after the people in their care. 

 

"This appalling behaviour is entirely inconsistent with Cygnet Health Care's values and high standards and we remain absolutely committed to delivering the highest quality healthcare, which our patients and residents expect and deserve."

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I am an Operations Director for a large homecare provider and sadly it isn’t a suprise when these things are highlighted, vastly under governed by the CQC due to bad management and cuts. Breaks my heart

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Horrible that. Started off thinking it was a lack of awareness from staff but it just got progressively worse. Calculating their abuse, psychological torment and infested attitude and care from the management down to the bottom. It goes beyond training this - there's a point where you're beyond your threshold and you're actually dehumanising the most vulnerable people.

 

I still have no fucking idea what that restraint training was, a one-two day training of Maybo and then do whatever the fuck you like? Management informing staff documentation is only important if it appeases CQC/social services?

 

Utter scum.

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Hard watch, that. Very upsetting. It seemed to me that you had a group of staff who seemed to gravitate towards each other and who were flat track bullies. As Seasons said, it went beyond poor training because they showed little human empathy.

 

I wonder how much is down to poor/weak management. How can you have a trained nurse supervising a restraint, who allows it to go on for so long and allows clear bullying and provocation like taking someone’s glasses and wearing them in front of him while he’s being held, or removing his property from his room and taunting him with it. You don’t need training to tell you how wrong that is.

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4 minutes ago, Anubis said:

Hard watch, that. Very upsetting. It seemed to me that you had a group of staff who seemed to gravitate towards each other and who were flat track bullies. As Seasons said, it went beyond poor training because they showed little human empathy.

 

I wonder how much is down to poor/weak management. How can you have a trained nurse supervising a restraint, who allows it to go on for so long and allows clear bullying and provocation like taking someone’s glasses and wearing them in front of him while he’s being held, or removing his property from his room and taunting him with it. You don’t need training to tell you how wrong that is.

 

There's so many concerns with that particular scene - the person didn't need restraining - they had already stopped their behaviour and they weren't given the chance to calm down. Often staff will usually withdraw and sometimes even switch staff to defuse the situation. Instead they went straight in with whatever they wanted to call that, I've never seen anything like that in any restraint training because it's fucking dangerous. The twit with his knees locking the head highlighted that it's a form of control - the casually passing things around whilst restraining just showed it's all about dominating the person they are meant to be looking after. Then you have the psychological abuse of taking the possessions of someone who cannot or is finding it difficult to communicate and taunting it as a form of punishment. They're not a fucking child you fucking moron.

 

I really, really tried to put some doubt into their behaviour. I went with a lack of management and guidance, I went with training and I went with a lack of senior control. I even went with poor communication between social care and provider. Each one just fell short that it's beyond all that, it's one-upmanship. Calculating how you can divert your actions (to the CCTV) and still show intent to hurt someone who is lashing out because they don't know how to communicate "I want you to fuck off please" is beyond any of the above.

 

When I worked in care, I found that low pay, poor training and a complete denial that for some, it's just not the right job, all contributed to people acting shitty towards the people they cared for. It's a low barrier to entry and the routes for safeguarding easily blurred or controlled by providers. I once raised a safeguarding because a care member of staff was telling another member of staff which woman on the adverts he'd like to dunk his face in their minge. Management flagged it up to his line manager who put him on more training. I flagged it up with social services the next day and the next day they were there reviewing the place which eventually led to him being dismissed due to further information provided.

 

Raise the fucking bar. It's not difficult to find good staff and it's not difficult to make these places amazing spaces for people to get the support, care and attention they need - and fucking deserve.

 

Wound up.

 

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Just turned BBC news on amen local celebrity LF was on the screen as I was eating my Weetabix. 

 

*insert something about ease of masturbation*

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1 hour ago, lifetime fan said:

Naga is fucking tiny, the telly makes her look a foot taller and 3 dress sizes bigger. 

 

What chance did I stand? 

Did you eat her? 

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4 hours ago, lifetime fan said:

BBC Breakfast 8:10. 

Didn’t get to see it as I was in work. Will catch it on iPlayer later.

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2 hours ago, lifetime fan said:

Naga is fucking tiny, the telly makes her look a foot taller and 3 dress sizes bigger. 

 

What chance did I stand? 

I cant wait to get in and watch this. 

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24 minutes ago, Hand Shandy said:

The interview was very good.

 

Some of the sartorial choices made by Col less so...

 

Also, the camera appeared to add about 50lbs rather than the accepted 10.

 

I wore the winkle pickers just for Stig. 

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