Care home’s apology

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A CARE home operator has apologised following allegations that staff abused vulnerable adults.

Chiefs at Castlebeck, which operates the Briar Court care home in Hartlepool and is based in Darlington, have reacted after BBC’s Panorama programme showed vulnerable adults at Winterbourne View, in Bristol, apparently being punched, slapped and taunted by carers.

Police have arrested four people after the documentary exposed alleged abuse.

Social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has issued an “unreserved apology” after admitting it failed to respond to warnings of abuse of people with learning disabilities at the privately-run residential hospital.

Castlebeck’s chief executive officer Lee Reed said: “I was shocked, disgusted and ashamed by what I saw on Panorama.

“Having spent my entire career in health and social care, I intend to leave no stone unturned to ensure that this type of horrific event is never allowed to happen again.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron has given reassurance that 31,000 elderly residents of Southern Cross care homes, including in Hartlepool, east Durham and Billingham, would not “lose out” as the struggling chain warned it was in a “critical financial condition”, with losses of £311m in the space of six months.

Mr Cameron’s spokesman said: “Our interest is to make sure these people are cared for effectively.”