Ministers to strengthen safeguards for adults in care

Patient with bag over head is addressed by two workers Panorama captured footage of vulnerable patients being repeatedly pinned down, slapped and dragged

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Vulnerable adults in care in England are to be given more protection from abuse, the government has said.

The pledge comes after a BBC Panorama investigation showed staff at a privately run hospital mistreating adults with learning disabilities.

Details of "safeguarding" boards like to those for vulnerable children are to be published within a fortnight.

Health Minister Paul Burstow said he was committed to strengthening the safeguards for vulnerable adults.

Mr Burstow told the BBC: "It comes as a surprise to people that the statutory basis for the safeguarding of vulnerable adults in this country is much weaker than that which exists for children.

"I'm committed to follow through on some recommendations we have received recently from the Law Commission to implement statutory safeguarding rules that will require the police the NHS, social services to work together."

Punched and slapped

Mr Burstow had already accepted the need to introduce the changes, but the broadcast of footage of people with learning difficulties being punched, slapped and taunted by carers had focused public attention on the issue, officials said.

During five weeks spent filming undercover at Winterbourne View in Bristol, Panorama's reporter captured footage of some of the hospital's most vulnerable patients being repeatedly pinned down, slapped, dragged into showers while fully clothed, taunted and teased.

The hospital is a privately owned, purpose-built, 24-bed facility and is taxpayer-funded.

Four people have been released on police bail and 13 members of staff suspended by owners Castlebeck.

The care home regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), gave an unreserved apology last week for failing to act on warnings by whistleblower Terry Bryan about the abuse.

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