Tuesday's Panorama programme, Undercover Care: The Abuse Exposed, laid bare the bullying and mistreatment experienced by residents of Winterbourne View, a purpose-built private hospital for people with learning disabilities and autism in Bristol.
After a tip off, a freelance journalist took a job as a support worker at the facility and secretly filmed what happened on the top floor over a five week period.
Scenes of apparent abuse by support workers towards the hospital's residents, coupled with an entirely separate breaking news story around the UK's leading care home provider Southern Cross and its serious financial woes, sent private care provision for elderly and disabled people straight to the top of the news agenda.
The Panorama programme in particular has provoked strong reactions from care providers, disabled people, politicians and journalists alike. Failures have been acknowledged by Dame Jo Williams of the Care Quality Commission, CQC, whose organisation had been made aware by a former member of staff, and apologies have been made.
Reviews and inspections have been promised by the social care minister Paul Burstow. The Guardian reports he has pledged that 30 homes run by Castlebeck, the owners of Winterbourne View, and 150 'similar' homes, will now be inspected.
"There can be no place for such inhumanity in care services. I have already asked the CQC to undertake a series of unannounced inspections of similar services. I am determined to strengthen the system of safeguarding to protect vulnerable adults from abuse."
Yesterday, Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow said in his Snowblog that cuts are making it difficult for the care regulator to carry out enough necessary checks.
"The numbers of inspectors have been cut, the number of inspections they can make has consequently been reduced in some areas by a staggering 70%. In neither the Bristol abuse case nor the Southern Cross failure did the regulator warn early enough of catastrophe. But was the regulator in either case still adequately equipped to do the job? Or had 'cuts' neutralised their capacity for oversight?"
In this time of austerity, with benefits and service cuts possibly on the horizon, what about disabled people who live independently in the community at the moment? Can those who hoped that life in a care home was either far in their past or unlikely to become a necessity in the future, rest easy knowing that this kind of abuse still happens?
In a blog post reacting to the scenes from Winterbourne View, Liz Sayce, chief executive of the Royal Association of Disability Rights, Radar, isn't so sure. She remembers a similar situation from 30 years ago and expresses a hint of despair that ...
"After all the battles we fought to close down the old institutions the same old abuse still goes on. I personally remember working in an old asylum in Kent just after an Inquiry had found abuses of people's human rights (assaults, lack of the most basic dignity and respect). I watched senior staff respond by making cosmetic changes (improving their record keeping!), while the authors of the Inquiry met hate from colleagues and had their tyres slashed. To begin with not much changed in the hospital. But in the end, after strenuous campaigns by mental health and learning disability activists, that hospital and many others closed. All the research shows people who moved out were much happier with their lives than they were in the institutions - even if they encountered challenges. Yet here we are again 30 years on - with new private institutions, repeating the pattern of systematic abuse."
The provider, Castlebeck, was shocked by the scenes and has immediately implemented its own review and suspended 13 members of staff. The patients featured in Panorama have since been moved to safety. Four members of staff were arrested and have since been bailed.