Warnings of the systematic abuse of adults with learning difficulties at a residential hospital were not acted on despite a whistle-blower warning that some staff restrained patients "with smiles on the faces", it has been reported.
Whistle-blower Terry Bryan emailed managers at Winterbourne View residential hospital in Bristol in October complaining that some staff members "seem to relish restraint procedures".
The former nurse at the hospital quit after his complaints to his managers and health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) were ignored.
He then raised his concerns with the BBC, with its Panorama team broadcasting earlier this week shocking footage - filmed undercover - showing patients being pinned down, slapped, doused in cold water and repeatedly taunted and teased.
According to Thursday's Daily Telegraph, Mr Bryan's four-page email to his bosses included the warning: "Certain established staff members seem to relish restraint procedures.
"I have witnessed some with smiles on their faces as they restrain people. I see scant regard for the person's feelings whilst they are being held... and definitely no empathy."
Mr Bryan is reported to have started work at the residential hospital in August. After he complained to his managers in October and they failed to address his concerns, he resigned. He contacted the CQC in December and when it also failed to respond, he turned to the BBC.
The hospital's owner, Castlebeck, confirmed a former nurse had made a complaint about the quality of care to hospital managers but neither the chief executive nor board members were made aware of it due to "delays".
The Government has ordered a report into how the warnings of systematic abuse at the residential hospital were not acted upon by local authorities or the regulator.
The CQC has issued an "unreserved apology" for failing to respond to Mr Bryan's warnings. Chairman Dame Jo Williams confirmed the CQC had been contacted at least twice about the abuse and the regulator had "clearly missed an opportunity to talk with the person who was whistle-blowing".