Care home firm regrets failings

By Chris Willmott Thursday 01 November 2012 Updated: 08/11 12:49

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Arden Vale care home in Meriden was closed in the wake of the Winterbourne View Panorama scandal. (s)

THE CARE firm at the centre of a media storm over treatment of its vulnerable patients has 'welcomed the finalisation of the legal process' which resulted in the jailing of six carers at its Winterbourne View care home in Bristol.

Castlebeck, which was also forced to close its Arden Vale care home in Meriden because of serious failings uncovered by a BBC Panorama investigation, expressed their unequivocal and unreserved regret to the service users involved and their families following the 'wholly unacceptable and criminal behaviour witnessed at Winterbourne View'.

That behaviour has seen six of the carers from Winterbourne jailed and five others given suspended sentences.

Winterbourne was closed in June 2011 after an investigation by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

And Castlebeck Care (Teesdale) Ltd, the firm which runs a range of care homes for adults with learning disabilities and mental health problems, was also forced to close two other of its homes - including Arden Vale care home in Meriden because of failing standards uncovered by the CQC.

As part of the inquiry the CQC investigated all of Castlebeck's 24 care homes in England and Scotland.

These investigations - which included unannounced visits, uncovered 'serious concerns about the care provided at Arden Vale' and improvements were demanded.

Inspectors had major concerns with 12 of the 16 essential standards of care at the home - in particular the inappropriate use of restraint, unsafe use and management of medicines, human rights not being respected and patients not always being adequately safeguarded from physical and emotional harm.

When these concerns were not addressed the CQC took action to protect the residents and closed the care home in September last year.

The 11 defendants from Winterbourne – nine support workers and two nurses – admitted 38 charges of either neglect or ill-treatment of five people with severe learning difficulties after being secretly recorded by a reporter for the BBC's Panorama programme.

They were filmed slapping extremely vulnerable residents, soaking them in water, trapping them under chairs, taunting and swearing at them, pulling their hair and poking their eyes.

Whistleblower Terry Bryan, a former nurse at the home, contacted the BBC after his warnings were ignored by Castlebeck Ltd, which owned the hospital, and care watchdogs.

In a statement released after the sentences were passed, Castlebeck said: "The incoming new Board and management have and will continue to reform the business to prevent this ever happening again.

"The range of improvements and changes at Castlebeck are highlighted in the progress reports published on our website: http://www.castlebeck.com/family-andcarers/safety/where-we-are-now/ and are part of an on-going and widespread development programme to ensure we provide safe, high quality, person centred care."

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