Posts Tagged ‘Winterbourne View’

All parties are responsible for the disgrace of Winterbourne View

09/08/2012, 07:00:48 AM

by Peter Watt

Sometimes you read something so depressing and so disheartening that it ruins your day.  I have just had that experience as I read the report from South Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board into the appalling events that took place at Winterbourne View hospital.

You will remember the case; Winterbourne View was a hospital based in Bristol for adults with learning disabilities and autism.  A BBC Panorama undercover journalist secured a job there following a whistle-blower contacting them with concerns about the abuse of patients.  The resulting programme shocked all who saw it and has resulted in eleven former workers pleading guilty to almost 40 charges of abuse and Winterbourne View, owned by Castlebeck Ltd, being closed.

I should declare an interest here.  Two of my children have special needs and may very well need some form of supervised accommodation as adults.  I also have a brother in his early thirties who is in a smallish supervised accommodation unit.  Worrying about what happens when they are older and you aren’t there to protect them is something that all parents worry about.  To be honest, as a parent of children with special needs, the fear is debilitating.

Reading the report into events at Winterbourne View is like reading an account of some of my very worst nightmares.

Remember that we are talking about some of our most vulnerable fellow human beings here who are least able to defend themselves.   The quality of their lives really is in the hands of those entrusted with their care; if bad things happen when noone else is looking then nobody may ever know.

And at Winterbourne View there was certainly abuse (I personally would call it torture) with patients being humiliated, physically restrained, covered in cold water and left outside, hurt and over-prescribed sedatives.


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Only nationalisation and CCTV can stop abuse in care homes

07/06/2011, 01:00:56 PM

by Dennis Kavanagh

Satan and the sociology professor sat perched on a roof in Srebrenica watching a man with a Kalashnikov taking pot shots at the people running away from him. The professor explained the complex causes of the conflict and the culture of brutalisation that had transformed the once peaceful farmer into a cold blooded killer. In the pause that followed, Satan turned to the sociology professor and remarked, “But that doesn’t quite explain the glint in his eye though, does it”?

That was Radio 4’s superlative Harry’s Game, but had Satan taken up in one of the dilapidated office chairs in Winterbourne View care home I wonder if the same observation would occur to him. In a week that saw Jon Ronson argue in his book How to spot a psychopath that sadists are practically everywhere; we needed only to tune into last week’s Panorama to spot a number of them. The most vulnerable people in our community had been warehoused on an industrial estate in Bristol; though “warehoused” implies some care over the goods stored. This was an oubliette, a forgotten place in a land that wanted to forget about these people. Secret filming by Joe Casey gave these forgotten people eyes and ears and voices, and last week we heard their screams, their pleas for mercy and their howls of pain.

On the left, we often bury unfashionable impulses that would have protected these people. Go on, give into your inner socialists, you know this was about the market. Give into your inner authoritarian; you know secret filming was the only way to tell the truth about what happened.


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