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Whorlton Hall abuse scandal: CQC giving evidence to Parliamentary committee

Whorlton Hall abuse: House of Commons to hear evidence

The Care Quality Commission's chief officers are to give evidence in the House of Commons today over allegations of mistreatment of patients at the Whorlton Hall Care Home in County Durham.

It follows a recent Panorama programme on BBC One which showed patients with learning difficulties being abused and mistreated at the home.

Today's hearing, at the Human Rights Committee, follows revelations that an unpublished inspection by the Commission in 2015 found that the facility "required improvement", but just a year later another report gave it an overall rating of "good".

Whorlton Hall Care Home in County Durham
BBC

Cash boost for small businesses

A £4.9m funding boost for small and medium-sized businesses in County Durham will have a "real impact" and could create more than 300 jobs.

The three-year County Durham Growth Fund has been launched by Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council, to help stimulate and enable businesses to grow by providing funding towards capital investment projects.

The funding, from the England European Regional Development Fund, will be delivered in partnership with the BE group, whose advisors will help with initial eligibility checks and funding applications.

Thousands attend coastal town's first food festival

Almost 15,000 people attended Seaham's first food festival - despite one of its two days being lost to torrential rain.

Organisers Durham County Council were forced to cancel Saturday's opening after stormy conditions left the seafront venue waterlogged.

A planned appearance by Masterchef presenter John Torode was also abandoned.

Seaham Food Festival
Durham County Council

However, the council declared the free festival, which boasted more than 100 traders, a success after thousand turned out on Sunday.

A spokesman said: “The town has benefited from significant regeneration, with more to come, boosting the town and county’s east coast economy.

"Local businesses will benefit further from the high turnout today and the event will encourage people to return to the town again and again.”

It's hoped the event will return next year.

Cricket: Durham v Nottinghamshire

Martin Emmerson

BBC Newcastle

Durham are hoping to capitalise on their first win in the cricket county championship today as they take on Northamptonshire.

Northants are yet to win a game in the competition this season after three draws and two defeats.

Their skipper Alex Wakely resigned last week after an innings defeat by Glamorgan so they will be led today by Adam Rossington the keeper.

Durham have a win to their name after Thursday's dramatic finale against Derbyshire.

Follow live coverage here.

Emirates Riverside, Chester-le-Street
BBC

Health watchdog to give evidence over Whorlton Hall abuse claims

Allegations of abuse at Whorlton Hall hospital in County Durham will be in the spotlight next week when representatives of the health watchdog give evidence to the UK Parliament Human Rights Committee.

The Care Quality Commission’s chief executive, Ian Trenholm, and Dr Paul Lelliott, deputy chief inspector (mental health) will appear on Wednesday.

It follows revelations broadcast last month by BBC Panorama, which alleged vulnerable patients were mistreated. Ten people have been arrested.

The session forms part of the committee's inquiry into conditions in learning disability inpatient units.

In a tweet, committee chair Harriet Harman MP said the commission had provided "false reassurance" which had served to "shield abusers".

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Views sought on village's 'numbered streets'

Residents of a County Durham village are being asked for their views on its future at a series of events starting next week.

They are being held as part of a consultation on the council's masterplan for the area around Horden's "numbered streets".

The plan outlines a number of possible options for the future of housing and the environment in the area and is based on feedback given by residents during an earlier public consultation held last year.

Kevin Shaw, cabinet member for strategic housing and assets, said: "In order to ensure residents continue to play a key role in how the area develops, we have now come up with a number of possible options ... so that people can tell us what they think would work best.

“[These] are only possible if we are able to secure additional funding from central government so we will also be using the document as evidence and we are urgently seeking a meeting with the housing minister to present our case.”

Horden's numbered streets area
Durham County Council

There will be a public exhibition at Horden Social Welfare Centre on 4 June, and a series of drop in sessions on subsequent Tuesdays throughout the month.

BreakingProbes launched into 'abuse' at specialist hospital

Two investigations have been launched into allegations of abuse of patients at a specialist hospital in County Durham, a watchdog has announced.

The Care Quality Commission has commissioned David Noble to review into how it dealt with concerns raised over Whorlton Hall.

Undercover filming by BBC Panorama appeared to show patients being mocked, intimidated and restrained.

The site had at least 100 visits by official agencies in the year before the abuse was discovered.

The review will focus on concerns raised about a draft report prepared in 2015, and how they were addressed through CQC’s internal processes.

The CQC is also commissioning a wider review of its regulation of the site between 2015 and this year.

Ten people have been arrested over offences relating to abuse and neglect at the privately-run NHS-funded unit, Durham Police said.

Whorlton Hall,
BBC

First region declares: Labour and Brexit Party win in North East

Arrests centre on alleged abuse and neglect

The 10 people arrested as part of the Whorlton Hall investigation are being questioned about offences relating to abuse and neglect, Durham Police say.

Undercover filming for the BBC's Panorama showed staff at the privately-run NHS-funded unit intimidating, mocking and restraining vulnerable patients.

The 17-bed hospital is one of scores of such units in England that provide care for just below 2,300 adults with learning disabilities and autism.

Earlier this week, Cygnet, the firm which runs the unit, said it was "shocked and deeply saddened".

Hospital staff 'abused' vulnerable patients

Nick Triggle

Health Correspondent

In case you missed it last night, the abuse and mistreatment of vulnerable adults at a specialist hospital has been uncovered by the BBC's Panorama programme.

Undercover BBC filming shows staff intimidating, mocking and restraining patients with learning disabilities and autism at Whorlton Hall, County Durham.

A police investigation has been launched and 16 staff suspended.

Cygnet, the firm which runs the unit, said it was "shocked and deeply saddened".

Hospital staff 'abused' vulnerable patients in Durham, BBC's Panorama reveals
Hospital staff 'abused' vulnerable patients in Durham, BBC's Panorama reveals
Undercover BBC filming shows staff swearing, mocking and taunting patients with learning disabilities.

Sinkhole causes A689 closure

Drivers on a route between County Durham and Cumbria are facing diversions this morning, after a sinkhole closed the main road through upper Weardale.

It appeared in the A689 at Wearhead, between St John's Chapel and Nenthead, yesterday, and is thought to be the result of a collapsed culvert from old mine workings.

A shorter local diversion is in place within Wearhead for residents and emergency services, but this is not suitable for HGVs or coaches.

However, pedestrians, and dismounted cyclists are able to pass the subsidence.

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Sinkhole closes road in Weardale

An emergency road closure is in place in Upper Weardale after a sinkhole emerged.

Durham County Council has closed the A689 at Wearhead in the interests of safety.

Road Closed on A689
Durham County Council

Temporary diversions will be in place tomorrow morning to allow for further investigations and repairs.

The footpath remains open for pedestrians, while cyclists can pass through by dismounting and proceeding on foot.

Sinkhole
Durham County Council