Privatisation at it’s Finest – Criminal investigation into ‘abuse’ of people with learning disabilities by staff at centre run by major NHS contractor

Quoted from The Independent-

Durham Constabulary launches investigation into allegations of ‘physical and psychological abuse’ at Whorlton Hall, County Durham which is run by Cygnet Health Care

‘Inspectors have launched an investigation into a private provider of state care for vulnerable people across the UK after police were called to investigate allegations of abuse by staff. 

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it would be investigating other learning disability services run by Cygnet Health Care across the country, and appealed for anyone with concerns to come forward. 

It comes after The Independent revealed on Friday that Durham Police had received reports of “physical and psychological abuse” at Whorlton Hall, a live-in facility for people with disabilities and complex needs near Barnard Castle, County Durham. 

The 17-bed centre has been run since last year by Cygnet, one of the UK’s largest care providers responsible for 3,000 patients across 140 sites – including NHS and private beds. 

A number of Whorlton Hall staff have been suspended after abuse claims were made and the hospital has not been accepting new patients since Friday. 

“Durham Constabulary can confirm that, this week, they have launched a criminal investigation regarding concerns raised about alleged physical and psychological abuse by staff at Whorlton Hall, near Barnard Castle,” a police spokesperson said. 

Cygnet has come under increasing scrutiny in the past year after deaths at two of its mental health facilities and investigations by the CQC. 

It acquired Whorlton Hall, alongside 25 other hospitals and care homes after a takeover of private care provider Danshell Group, in 2018. 

A Cygnet Health care spokesperson said: “We acquired the Danshell Group a few months ago and allegations have been made against members of staff at one of the Group’s hospitals, Whorlton Hall, regarding their treatment of service users earlier this year.’ 

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