Care regulator 'missed opportunity'
England's social care regulator has issued an "unreserved apology" after admitting it failed to respond to warnings of abuse of people with learning disabilities at a privately-run residential hospital.
But the chair of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Dame Jo Williams, insisted she would not resign, blaming "an unforgivable error of judgment" by staff for the failure to act.
Police have arrested four people after secret filming by BBC Panorama showed vulnerable adults at Winterbourne View, in Bristol, being punched, slapped and taunted by carers.
Three men, aged 42, 30 and 25, and a 24-year-old woman, have now been released on bail by Avon and Somerset police.
Ministers have ordered a "thorough examination" of the handling of the case by the CQC and local authorities.
Dame Jo confirmed that a former nurse had contacted the CQC at least twice to complain about treatment of residents at the hospital, but said inspectors did not attempt to speak directly to the whistle-blower because it was assumed that any problems would be picked up through normal safeguarding procedures.
Describing the case as "dreadful and unacceptable", the CQC chair told BBC Radio 4's PM programme: "We clearly missed an opportunity to talk with the person who was whistle-blowing, to understand the concerns and to fully investigate them, and I am absolutely determined that we must do better."
She added: "We are doing an internal investigation. It would appear that it was an error of judgment - assumptions were made about what other people were doing. These were false assumptions... There was an assumption made that through the safeguarding procedures these matters would be picked up."
She added: "We are doing a thorough root-and-branch investigation into what went wrong. We have to make sure that when people are brave enough to raise their voices, we respond in a way that is appropriate."
Dame Jo said she was considering whether current workloads - which require CQC inspectors to cover 50 or more cases - are excessive, but had not yet reached a conclusion.