‘Abuse’ Care Hospital Due To Shut

A hospital which was criticised in a report for “widespread institutional abuse” of patients is to close. Fourteen people with learning difficulties at Budock Hospital, near Falmouth, will be rehomed by December, the BBC has been told. Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust is also handing over the care of nearly 170 people in 46 community homes. The closure follows inspections by the Healthcare Commission and Commission for Social Care Inspection.

Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust was put in special measures for “widespread institutional abuse” of patients at Budock Hospital, which was revealed in the commissions’ joint report earlier this month.

Five members of staff have been dismissed and police are looking into the care of 40 victims whose cases were highlighted.

Care of the residents will be handed over to Cornwall County Council’s adult social care team in association with charities including Mencap.

Among the victims was Ryan Blakey, 25, who has severe learning disabilities, epilepsy and autism. He was admitted to Budock Hospital twice to oversee changes to his medication in the late 1990s and 2002. His family later complained Ryan had injured his hand during his first stay and that his comforters were taken away from him during his second visit. They said Ryan’s mental state deteriorated and he was found slapping himself, tearing at his fingernails and wearing dirty clothes while in hospital.

The trust launched an investigation after a member of staff at Budock complained in 2003 that patients were being physically and psychologically abused on its Lamorna ward.

Government inspectors found evidence of 64 incidents of abuse over the five years to October 2005.

“These included staff hitting, pushing, shoving, dragging, kicking, secluding, belittling, mocking, and goading people who used the trust’s services, withholding food, giving cold showers, over-zealous or premature use of restraint, poor attitude to people who used services, poor atmosphere, roughness, care not being provided, a lack of dignity and respect and no privacy.”

Following their report, Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt announced an audit of all services in England for people with learning disabilities in NHS or private-sector care.