Belfast Telegraph

Man arrested over Muckamore hospital abuse claims

Police have arrested a 30-year-old man in connection with abuse allegations at Muckamore Abbey Hospital
Police have arrested a 30-year-old man in connection with abuse allegations at Muckamore Abbey Hospital
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

Police have arrested a 30-year-old man in connection with abuse allegations at Muckamore Abbey Hospital.

Detectives from the PSNI's Public Protection Branch investigating allegations of ill-treatment of patients at the Co Antrim hospital made the arrest in the Antrim area yesterday.

The arrest comes less than two weeks after health officials revealed that patient numbers at the hospital have "significantly reduced" following the allegations of physical and mental abuse of the patients.

The PSNI has been investigating thousands of reported incidents that are alleged to have taken place at the hospital, which treats people with severe learning disabilities and mental health needs.

Twenty staff, mainly nurses, have been suspended at Muckamore since 2017.

The author of a review into the Antrim hospital, Dr Margaret Flynn, found a series of "catastrophic failings".

Dr Flynn reviewed the protection of vulnerable adult patients at Muckamore between 2012 and 2017 and found that many lives were "compromised", while there was also "a culture of tolerating harm".

Dr Flynn told the BBC earlier this month that while some aspects of care have improved, the hospital needs to close.

The Department of Health said the priority remains the safety and stability of care provided at Muckamore Abbey Hospital.

"Suspensions clearly contribute to the challenge of maintaining required staffing levels," it said.

"However, it should also be emphasised that the patient population at Muckamore has been significantly reduced over the past year.

"This has helped mitigate staffing pressures to a degree."

CCTV footage revealed 1,500 crimes on one ward alone, officers said.

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