Whorlton Hall – Shocking Treatment of Vulnerable Adults

The BBC yesterday, following an undercover investigation by Olivia Davie for their Panorama programme, published a shocking report into care provided at Whorlton Hall, a specialist hospital caring for the vulnerable. 

The investigation uncovered multiple instances of the threat of violence and six care workers also told the undercover reporter that they had deliberately hurt patients. Other instances were described as “psychological torture” by Glynis Murphy a professor of clinical psychology and disability at Kent University’s Tizard Centre.  

The CQC, who are the regulators of services for people with learning disabilities, gave Whorlton Hall a good rating after inspection in 2017. Dr Paul Lelliott, deputy chief inspector of hospitals at the CQC, told Panorama: “on this occasion it is quite clear that we did not pick up the abuse that was happening at Whorlton Hall.”

The patients at Whorlton Hall are some of the most vulnerable people in society and the healthcare system. Those employed to care for and protect those vulnerable patients have provided the complete antithesis of good care. A police investigation has commenced.

It is always shocking when incidents such as these are discovered but tragically they are not uncommon. Essex Police are currently investigating allegations of assault at Thors Park, a specialist hospital for men with learning disabilities in Thorrington, Essex. Both centres are operated by Cygnet Health Care, which operates 140 hospitals and residential institutions across the UK looking after thousands of patients with mental health conditions, learning disabilities and complex needs. The CQC has said that it is conducting a review of other services run by Cygnet Health Care.

All patients in England and Wales are entitled to expect a reasonable standard of care when receiving medical treatment. Events such as those being investigated by the police are clearly negligent but not all care is as obviously below a reasonable standard.

Claims for negligent treatment of vulnerable individuals can arise in various scenarios:

  • Failure to properly assess individuals care needs and implement reasonable measures to address those needs
  • Failure to provide reasonable supervision of vulnerable patients to ensure their own safety and the safety of others
  • Failure to provide reasonable staffing levels and to provide appropriate training to individuals that are working with vulnerable patients
  • Failure to deal with allegations of mistreatment made by patients, their families or friends

When care drops so far below the reasonable standard expected criminal charges can be brought against the individual involved. Civil action can be taken against the provider ultimately responsible for the care, such as Cygnet Health Care, in order to recover compensation for the injuries suffered by patients.

At Lime Solicitors we have a breadth of experience in dealing with cases involving substandard care towards vulnerable patients. We understand that these types of claims are not only about compensation but addressing failings so they do not happen to anyone else. We are passionate about investigating these types of cases and understand how important they are to the patients and their loved ones.

If you suspect that your loved one is receiving negligent or abusive treatment; or you are a Care Home resident who does not know what to do, then please contact us for guidance on freephone 0808 164 0808. Alternatively, you can request a call back and we will call you.