Care home workers face sentencing over abuse exposed in Panorama investigation


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The Independent Online

A judge is due to sentence a group of South Gloucestershire care home workers who were caught on camera abusing patients by an undercover TV investigation.

The shocking treatment of severely disabled people at the Winterbourne View private hospital in Hambrook was exposed last year by BBC1's Panorama.

A total of 11 former staff have between them admitted 38 charges of either neglect or ill-treatment of people with severe learning difficulties and will be sentenced at Bristol Crown Court.

Judge Neil Ford QC, the Recorder of Bristol, said the sentencing hearing could last up to five days.

Panorama's undercover five-week investigation, broadcast in June last year, recorded secret footage of patients being abused by carers.

The video showed frail and confused residents being forcibly pinned down, slapped, soaked in water, trapped under chairs, taunted and having their hair pulled and eyes poked.

A serious case review published in August condemned the hospital's owner, Castlebeck, for putting profits before care.

The damning independent report heavily criticised health regulators, police, social services and the NHS for failing to spot the warning signs about the abuse at the now closed Winterbourne View.

All 11 defendants are on bail with the condition that they are not allowed to work or seek work with vulnerable people.