Care home abuse incident prompts British government review

June 1st, 2011 - 9:40 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 1 (IANS) The British government has ordered a review of the government regulator Care Quality Commission’s failure to probe systematic abuse that left vulnerable people undergoing months of physical and verbal abuse at a care home in Bristol.

A BBC programme has revealed systematic abuse at Winterbourne View unit in Bristol. The systematic abuse of residents in the unit was documented by an undercover cameraman and broadcast on the BBC’s Panorama programme Tuesday, The Guardian reported.

The care home unit’s staff pinned residents to the floor and forced one into the shower fully dressed and then outside until she shook from cold.

Residents were slapped and taunted, and one was teased about a suicide attempt, it was shown.

Experts told the programme what they had seen amounted to “torture”. Immediately after the broadcast, four of the staff were arrested.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “We are talking about a specific case that is clearly very shocking. (Minister of State for Care Services) Paul Burstow has asked the regulator to undertake a series of inspections of similar services and a thorough examination of the roles of both the CQC and local authorities in this case.

“What we need to do is look at the circumstances surrounding this particular case. Clearly, there have been failures in this case, and we need to look at that before drawing any conclusions.”

He added that the government was “monitoring very carefully” the situation with Southern Cross, Britain’s biggest provider of residential care for older people.

Burstow has asked the regulator to investigate similar services to the Winterbourne View unit, in Hambrook, near Bristol, where a culture of abuse prevailed despite tip-offs from staff and repeated inspections - the role of the CQC, which is the sector regulator, and the local authority.

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