Horrific abuse of vulnerable
Vulnerable patients are one of the sections of society that require protection from abuse the most. It is therefore truly horrific when that protection falls far below the standard expected.
The North East is understandably in outrage following an undercover investigation, which revealed the abuse that patients with autism and learning disabilities sustained at Whorlton Hall, a private hospital in County Durham.
According to the BBC, a former inspector at the Care Quality Commission says a 2015 report into the hospital presented "warning bells", and went unpublished.
The facility has now been closed and 16 staff members have been suspended. Durham Constabulary are currently carrying out an investigation, and 10 workers at the specialist hospital were arrested.
Whistleblowers approached BBC Panorama and told them of the attitude and behaviour of members of staff at Whorlton hall and the bullying and mistreatment which was taking place. Panorama teamed up with a journalist named Olivia Davies, who agreed to work inside the hospital and gather evidence for the BBC. Working back-to-back for more than two months, Olivia carried out covert surveillance. Details of the abuse were aired during a documentary, which made for disturbing viewing.
The undercover footage showed members of staff being verbally abusive towards patients. Staff mocked, taunted, provoked, intimidated and repeatedly restrained patients.
In one particular incident, two staff members told a female patient who is afraid of men, that her room would be inundated with men.
They nicknamed this ‘pressing the man button’. Another staff member threatened to ‘deck her’ if she tried to run at staff. Six workers also admitted they had deliberately hurt patients.
The government has issued an apology for the abuse, with Labour Health Mininister Caroline Dinenage branding the treatment as ‘tantamount to psychological torture’. She went on to say that the abuse was ‘quite simply appalling’.
This sort of behaviour, and abuse in general, should never happen and here at Tilly Bailey & Irvine Law Firm we are grateful that whistleblowers brought this abuse to the public eye. If you are a victim of abuse, of any nature, you may be able to make a claim for personal injuries sustained.
Please contact our Personal Injury department consisting of experienced North East solicitors and lawyers on 01429 350062, from either our Hartlepool or Stockton offices. We have a vast experience dealing with abuse matters – most recently Medomsley victims – and we may be able to offer you a No Win No Fee claim.