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Alarm over patient abuse

5th July 2006

Serious concerns about the care of people with learning disabilities have been raised by a damning report which uncovered institutional abuse in a Cornwall hospital.

Checks will be carried out on all services in England after the report from the Healthcare Commission and Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI). The report said the scale of abuse in Cornwall was the worst the inspectorates had come across. 

Evidence included staff hitting, pushing, and dragging people who were in their care, as well as reports of staff withholding food and forcing patients to take cold showers and allegations of sexual abuse by fellow residents.

The report called for Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust is put in special measures for "widespread institutional abuse" of patients at Budock Hospital. Cornwall NHS said changes have been made.

Cases of people’s money being misused have been referred to the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service.

The inspectors acknowledged some staff were caring and well-meaning but "lacked understanding and knowledge of best practice".

The Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust said there were "no excuses" for the failings, but said some changes have been made including dismissing five staff members, with others undergoing retraining.

Chief Executive Lezli Boswell, who took over at the trust in May, has apologised in writing to the carers and service users.

 

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