Next phase of abuse inquiry to focus on treatment of young people in NHS care

The next stage of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry will examine abuse suffered by disabled children and young people being treated within the NHS.

Hearings for phase nine of the inquiry will begin in spring 2025 and will focus on residential care at 17 institutions across Scotland, including psychiatric hospitals run by the NHS and residential units run by local authorities and charities.

Three NHS trusts will be examined, including NHS Dumfries and Galloway, NHS Forth Valley, and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – which was responsible for scandal-hit Lennox Castle Hospital, which closed in 2002.

Psychiatric unit the Royal Scottish National Hospital in Falkirk, which closed in 1991, will also be scrutinised, as will Ladyfield West Children’s Hospital, run by NHS Dumfries and Galloway, which closed in 1999.

Inquiry chairwoman Lady Smith urged potential witnesses to come forward as the panel looks at “establishments for children and young people with long-term healthcare needs, additional support needs and disabilities”.

Also being investigated in phase nine is St Vincent’s School for the Deaf and Blind, run by a religious order in Glasgow’s east end, which has welcomed the Scottish Government’s redress scheme for victims of abuse.

Some existing institutions, including the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh, will also be subject to the inquiry.

A spokesperson for the inquiry said: “Investigation of this category of establishments has been ongoing throughout the life of the inquiry and many relevant statements have already been provided by applicants.”

Lady Smith said: “The inquiry’s terms of reference include requiring us to investigate the provision of residential care for children in healthcare establishments providing long-term care and also similar establishments.

“Phase nine will examine the provision of residential care for children and young people who had long-term healthcare needs, additional support needs, disabilities or a combination of those needs.

“We plan to hold public hearings and expect that they will be able to commence in spring 2025.

“A range of organisations were involved in the provision of such residential accommodation, including the NHS, local authorities, voluntary and private providers.

“Our investigations have been ongoing throughout the life of the inquiry.

“A number of people have already come forward, but we would encourage anyone with relevant information to get in touch with the inquiry’s witness support team as soon as possible.”

The team can be contacted on 0800 0929 300, or by email to [email protected]

Individuals can also write to the inquiry, at SCAI, PO Box 24202, Edinburgh EH3 1JN.

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