Inspectors Voice Fears On Care Of Vulnerable Young

The heads of two care inspectorates have voiced serious concerns about the treatment of people with learning disabilities across England. Their report comes just over a year after an investigation was launched by Dorset police and Poole social services over the alleged assault of Down’s Syndrome man Jamie McManus.

In May last year, Jamie returned from a weekend in a respite care centre with three toenails and a fingernail apparently ripped out.

Because he cannot speak or use sign language, he was unable to tell his parents or the police what had happened, but the 31-year-old continued showing signs of distress for months.

The Crown Prosecution Service decided there was not enough evidence to bring any charges against a 24-year-old agency worker who was questioned over the incident.

Now the chief executive of the Healthcare Commission and the chief inspector of the Commission for Social Care Inspection have spoken out after an investigation revealed “widespread institutional abuse” in NHS treatment and care units in Cornwall.

Anna Walker and David Behan called on the Department of Health to strengthen its procedures for protecting vulnerable adults after finding evidence of physical abuse, illegal restraint, overuse of medication and misuse of patients’ money.

The Healthcare Commission, working with the CSCI where appropriate, will now carry out a national audit and inspection programme of all NHS and independent healthcare providers, and will publish its findings next year.