‘No South Tyneside patients at Whorlton Hall’

There were no South Tyneside patients treated at the specialist hospital where BBC’s Panorama revealed serious abuse allegations.

Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 5:57 pm
Whorlton Hall in County Durham, where a BBC Panorama programme uncovered staff mocking, taunting, intimidating and repeatedly restraining patients. Pic: BBC/PA Wire.

Last night’s edition of the show raised concerns about ‘abuse and mistreatment of vulnerable adults’ at Whorlton Hall, in County Durham.

But although care chiefs for the borough were able to breathe a sigh of relief, they also warned there could be ‘no complacency’ in watching for warning signs.

BBC reporter Olivia Davies, who uncovered the abuse of patients at Whorlton Hall in County Durham. Pic: BBC/PA Wire.

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“None of our residents were in that facility,” said Jeanette Scott, executive director of nursing, quality and safety at South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

“But that doesn’t change the fact that it could have been one of our residents.

“There’s ongoing work around that provider and it is [now subject to a] criminal investigation, with 16 members of staff suspended.”

Whorlton Hall, near Barnard Castle, was the subject of a two-month undercover investigation by the BBC.

The facility was formerly run by Cygnet Health Care but has now closed, with all patients transferred to other services.

Ms Scott was speaking at this morning’s meeting of South Tyneside CCG’s Governing Body.

She raised a separate Panorama investigation in 2011 off Winterborne View, in Bristol, in which abuse of people with learning disabilities was uncovered.

This prompted reforms to encourage more patients to be treated in the community, rather than in specialist hospitals.

But she also stressed all treatment must be appropriate for the needs of an individual patient.

She said: “Some people do require inpatient care, but it is about the appropriateness of the placement.

“We’ve done a lot of work and made significant progress, but there can be complacency,” she added.

“The message I took was it is about the type of people [working in facilities] and their behaviour.”


James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporting Service