Abuse Claims At Cornish Care Centre

Five members of staff have been suspended from their jobs at an adult day centre in Cornwall, amid allegations of abuse.

The claims have been made by people who attend Morley Tamblyn Lodge, Liskeard.

Cornwall County Council runs the day centre, which caters for adults with learning difficulties. Council bosses said they have launched their own investigation – the police have not been informed.

It is not known if the allegations relate to physical or verbal abuse, or both.

Last night council chiefs refused to reveal how many allegations had been made, by whom, or when the complaints reached them.

How long the investigation process is likely to take place is not known either.

A spokesman for the council, said: “Following allegations of abusive practices involving service users at Morley Tamblyn Lodge, an investigation is currently being carried out by the Department of Adult Social Care.

“In accordance with agreed Adult Protection procedures, some members of staff have been suspended without prejudice to enable the investigation to be carried out. Measures have been put in place to ensure the welfare of service users.

“Officers from the Department are working with staff from Morley Tamblyn Lodge, service users and their families and carers to keep disruption to a minimum during this period.”

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police, said that the force was unaware of the abuse allegations.

He said: “We have, as yet, received no allegations or claims of abuse at the day centre.”

Last night council bosses would not comment on media reports that two male members of staff were suspended last year after being accused of using inappropriate restraining techniques against a man who attended the facility. According to reports, the allegations were later dropped and the two members of staff returned to work in February of this year.

Around 40 people use the day centre, with between 15 and 20 members of staff to look after them.

The council describes the facility as a training centre for adults with a wide range of learning difficulties.

The Morley Tamblin Centre is on the edge of Liskeard in a quiet, wooded spot next to Trevellis House, which is a hospital caring for geriatric patients. The hospital was locked and there was no response yesterday evening.

Adorning the walls of the corridors in the main reception area were a variety of printed County Council posters with messages including Say No To Abuse and advising people suffering from abuse to contact Cornwall Adult Social Care.

The investigation at the Morley Tamblin Centre is not the first inquiry into allegations of abuse involving people with learning difficulties in Cornwall.

In July last year, it was revealed that people with learning disabilities had been hit, pushed and dragged by carers at several centres in Cornwall, with much of the abuse occurring at Budock Hospital in Falmouth.

Others had been habitually stupefied with medication, given cold showers, or locked in their rooms. One person was tied to a bed or wheelchair for 16 hours a day. Five care workers were sacked in the wake of the scandal, the Cornwall Partnership Trust was put on special measures, and a police investigation was launched. Budock Hospital was also closed and a series of improvements to services were introduced.

Colin Breed, MP for South East Cornwall, last night said: “Obviously I am very concerned that we have allegations of this sort which need to be investigated but we need to ensure the staff are properly treated during the period of this investigation.

“If these serious allegations are found to be correct this is of great concern, bearing in mind it is not long ago we had a similar serious episode further down in Cornwall. We ought not to jump necessarily to conclusions until the situation has been investigated.”