Care home inquiry not ruled out

A full independent inquiry into the abuse of residents at a care home for people with learning disabilities has not been ruled out, the Government said today.





Amid Labour criticism that existing investigations did not go far enough, Care Services Minister Paul Burstow insisted that a criminal inquiry must not be prejudiced.



Two more people were arrested yesterday over the controversy at Winterbourne View residential home in Gloucestershire, where BBC's Panorama filmed patients being pinned down, slapped, doused in cold water and repeatedly taunted and teased.



Mr Burstow announced today that Mencap chief executive Mark Goldring had been called in to help officials at the Department of Health investigate the findings of inquiries by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) watchdog and the local council.



But he said the Government wanted to have all the facts of the case before deciding whether to order a full independent review.



Answering an urgent question from Labour in the Commons, he said: "For the avoidance of doubt, we have not ruled out an independent inquiry. A criminal investigation is under way and it is important that we do nothing that could prejudice it."



He added: "Once in possession of the full facts and once the police investigation has concluded, we will be in a position to decide what further action is required."



Today Avon and Somerset Police said they arrested two women yesterday. The women, aged 21 and 22, have since been released on bail.



Last week, another woman and three men were arrested and released on bail.



The CQC issued an unreserved apology last week for failing to act on warnings by whistleblower Terry Bryan about abuse at the home.



Asked about the allegations today, Prime Minister David Cameron said the police investigation was "the most important thing".



"We saw the appalling scenes on our television screens and we need the police to get to the bottom of what happened. If criminal offences were committed, then people should feel the full force of the law coming down on them," he said.



But he brushed aside calls for reform of the CQC regulator in response to its failure to act on warnings from a whistle blower.



"We have got to make sure that the regulator we have in place - particularly the CQC - is absolutely established to do the job we want it to do," said Mr Cameron.



"The last thing we need is another reorganisation of regulators.



"This is now the regulator, this is the responsible body. We have got to make sure they are fully capable of doing all the tasks that are put in front of them."



Labour leader Ed Miliband earlier called for a full independent inquiry.



Speaking at a press conference in London, Mr Miliband said he had been "shocked" by the scenes of abuse filmed at Winterbourne View.



He said that the investigation into what happened could not be left to the CQC and South Gloucestershire Council as both bodies were involved in the failure.



"There must be an independent investigation into what happened and what lessons need to be learned and the Government should announce it straight away," he said.



He added that financiers had "creamed off millions" from Southern Cross care home company while tens of thousands of elderly people had been put at risk and "treated merely as commodities".



With the Government's Dilnot Commission on adult social care due to report next month, Mr Miliband said he wanted cross-party talks on the recommendations for reform.



"We will come to those talks with an open mind about the best way forward, not simply advocating what we have proposed in the past," he said.



"But the principles are clear - high quality care for those that need it, funded in a fair way, with proper accountability for those who deliver the care.



"Let's get round the table, work in the national interest, towards real change which addresses one of the big long-term problems in our country."



Following the financial crisis at Southern Cross, Mr Miliband said the Government should consider whether regulation of the sector should be extended to cover the financial stability of the organisations involved.



He said the collapse of a major provider, responsible for the care of hundreds of thousands of elderly people, could have serious consequences for the taxpayer.



"As we have seen previously with the banks, there are industries - and health and social care services are one such example - where corporate failure can have consequences far beyond the loss to shareholders and investors," he said.



"Just as with the banks, in the end the Government would have to step in and pick up the tab."



Mr Cameron said he welcomed the opportunity for cross-party talks.



"The idea of commissioning Andrew Dilnot was to see if he could unlock this fantastically difficult problem that has dogged governments of all colours for the last few decades," he said



"I am always happy to have cross-party talks, particularly on an issue like that."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum