Residents of Budock Hospital, near Falmouth in Cornwall, and some of the 45 group homes near by are understood to have been physically assaulted by staff. Staff are also alleged to have stood by when fights broke out among residents and to have failed to intervene to stop them.
The Healthcare Commission, the watchdog which is investigating the allegations, said it had found "significant failings" in the service provided by Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust, which runs the hospital and homes. The trust said seven members of staff had been suspended.
The commission said that it had ordered a "hit squad" to take over the running of the hospital and homes to "safeguard people with learning disabilities and establish an appropriate model of care" while the investigation continued.
Not all the homes had problems and some were well run, the commission added. Mencap, the national charity for people with learning disabilities, said that police were also carrying out an investigation.Reuse content