Action call after care home scandal
The families of the victims of the Winterbourne View care home scandal have demanded the Government ensures that nothing like the abuse exposed by BBC Panorama can ever happen again.
They said they hoped that ministers would "seize this unique opportunity with both hands" to make changes.
The call came as 11 members of staff at the private hospital, in Hambrook, South Gloucestershire, were sentenced for their roles in the "gross breach of trust and power" against vulnerable adults supposedly in their care. A judge at Bristol Crown Court jailed six of the workers - including two nurses - immediately, with the five others receiving suspended prison terms.
Care and support minister Norman Lamb pledged to publish the Government's report into the scandal very soon. "It has shone a light on major flaws in the system which we will address," he said. "I want this case to reinforce to everyone, from frontline workers, to regulators, managers and board members, that they have a shared responsibility in preventing abuse of the vulnerable."
One of the care workers, Jason Gardiner, apologised for his behaviour as he left court. "At the time it was misguided, I was trying to do the right thing and I ended up doing wrong and I would apologise for that," he said. "All I can do is apologise to everybody for what happened and I really never meant any harm to anybody, and that is heartfelt."
The owners of Winterbourne View, Darlington-based Castlebeck Ltd, said huge changes had taken place within the company since the abuse was exposed. Avon and Somerset Police said they are continuing to investigate other possible cases of residents being abused at the hands of staff at the hospital.
Support workers Wayne Rogers, Alison Dove, Graham Doyle, Gardiner, Michael Ezenagu, Danny Brake, Charlotte Cotterell, Holly Draper and Neil Ferguson were caught out in a sting by a reporter with a hidden camera posing as a carer. Nurses Sookalingum Appoo and Kelvin Fore were filmed condoning the abuse by failing to stop it.
Journalist Joseph Casey had got a job at Winterbourne View after whistleblower Terry Bryan, a former nurse at the home, went to the BBC after his complaints to Castlebeck and care watchdogs were ignored.
His shocking footage showed residents being slapped, soaked in water, trapped under chairs, taunted, sworn at and having their hair pulled, eyes poked and being illegally restrained. On one shocking occasion three support workers forcibly held down a resident while a nurse forced paracetamol into her mouth.
Rogers, 32, was jailed for two years; Dove, 25, and Doyle, 26, were each jailed for 20 months; and Draper, 24, was jailed for 12 months. Appoo, 59, and Kelvin Fore, 33, were each jailed for six months. Jason Gardiner, 43, Michael Ezenagu, 29, Danny Brake, 27, Charlotte Cotterell, 22, and Neil Ferguson, 28, were handed suspended sentences.