‘Abuse’ Care Hospital Closes Down

A Cornwall hospital criticised in a report for “widespread institutional abuse” of patients closes this week. Government inspectors found evidence of 64 incidents of abuse over five years at Budock Hospital, near Falmouth.

The hospital trust was put in special measures after inspections by the Healthcare Commission and Commission for Social Care Inspection.

Care of its residents is being handed over to Cornwall County Council’s adult social care team and charities. All 14 of the hospital residents have opted to move into individual homes in the community with new care providers. Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust is also handing over the care of nearly 170 people in 46 community homes.

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 incidents of staff hitting and belittling people, withholding food and giving cold showers.

The trust said progress has since been made, with staff being retrained and 18 new providers of care approved. Five members of staff were dismissed and police have been looking into the care of 40 victims whose cases were highlighted.

Following the commissions’ report in July 2006, Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt announced an audit of all services in England for people with learning disabilities in NHS or private-sector care.