Cornwall trio ‘were abused’ while at Bristol care home

THREE people from Cornwall with learning disabilities were allegedly abused at the Bristol care home at the centre of a new scandal, it has been revealed.

The West Briton has also discovered that one of the three who was placed at Winterbourne View had also been a victim of abuse at the Budock Hospital in Falmouth, which was closed after a catalogue of abuse was discovered six years ago.

All three placed at the Bristol hospital, featured in a recent BBC Panorama programme, are said to have been abused while there.

It is also believed one of the patients shown being abused in the BBC’s secret filming was from Cornwall.

The West Briton understands that this week the families of the three were considering legal action against health services in Cornwall and Cornwall Council.

The BBC programme showed patients being physically abused by staff, including being forced to the ground, hit, made to take cold showers and being left outside in the cold.

As a result several staff have been suspended and the police are investigating the assaults. Reviews are also being carried out at other private homes and hospitals. Arrests have been made.

The case has similarities to that of Budock where staff were found to be abusing patients. As a result of an investigation there four people were sacked and the hospital was closed. Last week victims of “financial abuse” at Budock were awarded nearly £1.5 million in compensation by the High Court.

After patients were removed from Budock they were rehomed across Cornwall. It is believed patients would have been sectioned again before being transferred to other facilities.

In one case it is claimed a victim of abuse at Budock was placed at Winterbourne View.

Two other people with learning disabilities from Cornwall – who were not at Budock – had also been sent there. All three were placed in the “locked ward” which featured in Panorama. They have since been moved from Winterbourne.

In a memo to colleagues, Councillor Armand Toms, Cornwall Council Cabinet member for adult social care, stated: “There are currently no Cornish service users at Winterbourne View. Three people from Cornwall whose care is co-ordinated by Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust were at Winterbourne View in the past 14 months. All of them have since moved to alternative services.”

In a joint statement, the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust, Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust and Cornwall Council said: “We are aware of the situation at Winterbourne View and are working closely with all relevant authorities on this issue, which we all take very seriously.

“However, due to the continuing police investigation, we are not able to comment further at this time.”