Bristol

Winterbourne View abuse scandal victim still 'miles from home'

Lorna and Sydney Blake
Image caption Lorna and Sydney Blake say they have not seen their daughter in more than four years

A woman at the centre of an abuse scandal remains hundreds of miles from home because a new unit close to her parents has still not opened.

Simone Blake, 24, from Devizes, was filmed by BBC Panorama being neglected and abused at the Winterbourne View private hospital near Bristol in 2011.

The opening of the new unit in Devizes has been delayed due to authorities wrangling over its status.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it was working to open it by Christmas.

After the BBC Panorama programme, the government said people with learning difficulties like Ms Blake should be close to home in community care settings, and not in hospitals.

Ms Blake has a place at a new £3m community unit, The Daisy, at Green Lane Hospital near her parents, which was due to open in the summer.

She is currently living 200 miles away in hospital in Norfolk, and her parents say they have not seen her in more than four years because they are too frail to travel.

Simone's mother, Lorna Blake, said: "She's fed up being in a hospital setting. She says she hates it, she wants to move."

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) which runs The Daisy, and NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (WCCG), which pays for Simone's care, wanted it to be registered as a care home.

But Dr Paul Lelliott from the CQC said the commission "cannot accept applications that appear to be re-labelling hospitals as care homes".

He added AWP had now withdrawn its application and had agreed to add the new service to its existing registration, and was hoping to open the unit before Christmas.

In a joint statement WCCG and AWP said they hoped a new registration "can be defined as quickly as possible".

After the acts of abuse at Winterbourne View were uncovered by the BBC six people were jailed, five other workers were given suspended sentences and the home was shut down.

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