Winterbourne View: Families call for private hospital action

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Media captionBeverley Dawkins from Mencap read a statement on behalf of some of the families of Winterbourne View patients

The families of former residents of Winterbourne View have called for similar private hospitals to be replaced with more local services.

The hospital was shut following an undercover BBC Panorama programme which showed residents being abused.

Eleven former workers pleaded guilty to a series of abuse and neglect charges at Bristol Crown Court.

"Places like Winterbourne View should not exist, they should be closed," a statement from the families said.

The home, then owned by Castlebeck, was closed in the weeks following the BBC expose and has been since bought by another firm.

'Physical and mental scars'

Two care managers at South Gloucestershire Council were also sacked while an independent report into Castlebeck found the firm took "financial reward without the responsibility".

Ringleader Wayne Rogers, 32, who admitted nine counts of ill-treating patients, was jailed for two years.

Other former members of staff were also jailed for their parts in the abuse scandal.

The families of the victims at the private hospital said it would take time to recover from the ordeal.

"We would like you to remember that our children have suffered greatly and it will take a long time for their physical and mental scars to heal - for some that may never happen," the statement added.

"However, they are are our children, our family members, our friends and we love and cherish them and are proud of them.

"Viewing the footage shown in court this week has been distressing and extremely harrowing for the families.

"The guilty parties were only charged with offences shown on the Panorama programme and it would be naive to believe that this monstrous behaviour had not been continuing for a very long time."

'Public outrage'

In the statement, the families thanked the BBC for uncovering the abuse and Avon and Somerset Police for undertaking the case "diligently and with a great deal of sensitivity".

"The righteous public outrage over the treatment of our children has highlighted the necessity of these vulnerable adults receiving the same care and protection due to them in law as any other member of the public," they said.

Following sentencing, the police said there were "no words to describe the horrific treatment" handed out to patients at the hospital.

"All hate crime is abhorrent and we will not tolerate it," the force said.

Image caption Winterbourne View has since been bought by Glenside Manor Healthcare Services

The owners of Winterbourne View at the time of the abuse, Castlebeck, said they had made changes to ensure there would not be a repeat.

"When those events at Winterbourne View independent hospital were exposed in May 2011, the board and the company's then chief executive expressed their unequivocal and unreserved regret to the service users involved and their families," the Darlington-based firm said.

"Swift and decisive action was taken by the board and management as soon as the allegations concerning former members of staff at Winterbourne View were raised almost 18 months ago.

"The incoming new board and management have and will continue to reform the business to prevent this ever happening again."

The firm added it disagreed with aspects of the independent review which said it put profit before care.

"Unlike other agencies cited as having contributed to the events at Winterbourne View, Castlebeck was not represented on the inquiry panel," Castlebeck said.

"We do not accept all the comments made in the review."

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