“The staff involved should feel the full force of the law” – Mencap Responds to Whorlton Hall Abuse Verdict
Today, (27th April 2023), four former staff at Whorlton Hall, a specialist hospital for people with learning disabilities and autistic people in County Durham, were found guilty of abuse and neglect.
The abuse was uncovered after the BBC sent an undercover reporter to work at the unit back in 2019.
This shocking case comes nearly 12 years after a similar abuse scandal was exposed at Winterbourne View, another hospital for people with learning disabilities near Bristol.
Commenting on the case, Dan Scorer, Head of Policy at Mencap, said:
“It’s absolutely appalling that 12 years on from the abuse scandal at Winterbourne View, people with a learning disability, autistic people and their families continue to be mistreated, neglected and failed by the system.
“No-one who has seen the footage and read about the charges in this case can feel anything other than horror and disgust. We stand alongside the families who have been affected, and the staff involved should feel the full force of the law.
“Learning disabilities and autism are not conditions that can be ‘treated’, yet the NHS and the government continue to fund private care facilities like Whorlton Hall. This distressing case represents another abject failure, and we cannot allow any more people to lose years of their lives to this abusive system.
“The government has repeatedly promised to ‘transform care’ and close these hospitals, but our analysis reveals they will miss their latest target to reduce the number of people with learning disabilities and autistic people in mental health hospitals by 50 per cent. The government are at least four years away from delivering the change needed to prevent people from languishing in these places and developing the right support in the community instead.
“Families are tired of the government making empty promises, and we are calling on the government to urgently develop and fund the right social care support in the community and end this scandal once and for all.”
There are currently more than 2,000 people with a learning disability and/or autistic people being detained in inpatient mental health hospitals.
Data analysis from Mencap reveals the government will miss their target of reducing the number of people with learning disabilities and/or autistic people in mental health hospitals by 50%, by at least four years.