*Updated* Police Investigation into Whorlton Hall

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*Updated 15 July 2020* Enable Law have been instructed to investigate a claim for compensation on behalf of a former resident of Whorlton Hall. Lindsey Connett (who acted for the former residents of Winterbourne View) says: “It is important that vulnerable adults who have been living in a restrictive and potentially abusive environment have the opportunity for their claims to be fully reviewed, and for them to be compensated if they have suffered injury”. If you have any concerns about the care being provided to a relative in either Whorlton Hall or a similar environment, please contact us

*Updated 1 November 2019* The Joint Committee on Human RIghts has published a second report on the detention of children and young people with learning disabilities/autism. The report, which references the BBC’s Whorlton Hall coverage, paints a stark portrait of the pathway to detention for these vulnerable people. Our expert analysis will follow, for now you can read the full report here.

*Updated 23 May 2019* Last night the BBC’s Panorama documentary show featured an undercover report into the treatment of patients at Whorlton Hall. Staff were shown mocking and intimidating patients, who were vulnerable adults, and there are allegations of excessive restraint. Read about our work with the residents of Winterbourne View, themselves the subject of a similar Panorama documentary, here.

*Original Story* County Durham police have confirmed they are investigating allegations of physical and psychological abuse at Whorlton Hall in County Durham. Some 16 staff have been suspended whilst an investigation takes place.

Whorlton Hall is a 17-bed facility for adults with learning disabilities and complex health needs in County Durham. It is owned and operated by Cygnet Health Care.

Although no details of the nature of the abuse have been revealed, the Care Quality Commission have confirmed they are also conducting an investigation and that new admissions to Whorlton Hall have been suspended during that process.

Abuse of vulnerable adults in hospitals, care homes or supported living is an emotive issue and, of course, very concerning. Many of those involved are not able to speak for themselves, and even close family are often not aware of shortfalls in the standards of care. Media revelations over the past few years have highlighted the need to protect the most vulnerable members of society, and the need to fully investigate when things go wrong.

Claims can arise in a number of ways, including:

  • A failure to properly assess, monitor and ensure appropriate individual care plans are in place
  • A failure to identify, and manage, risks relating to the health, welfare and safety of individuals
  • A failure to respond to, or fully investigate, allegations of assault, or investigate the conduct of the staff alleged to have carried out the assault
  • A failure to take reasonable steps to identify the possibility of abuse and to prevent it before it occurs
  • A failure to ensure proper arrangements are in place to protect individuals against unlawful and excessive use of physical restraint and ‘as required’ medication
  • Institutional abuse including physical, verbal, psychological and sexual abuse
  • A failure to provide appropriate training and supervision to staff which in turn leads to any of the previously mentioned failures
  • A failure to report any of these failures to the appropriate regulatory body

Enable Law can advise you or a family member as to whether you or they have a claim. We can instruct experts in their field as to the impact of any negligence and/or assault and help gain the compensation you and/or your family member deserves.

Our team has previously worked on large group action compensation claims for former residents of Budock Hospital and Winterbourne View, the last of which have recently concluded. More recently, we have acted on behalf of former residents of Clinton House in St Austell, Cornwall and residents at a residential home in Gloucester who were sexually abused by a care worker.

If you are concerned about a family member or would like to speak to Enable Law about legal implications arising from the Whorlton Hall investigations, please contact Lindsey Connett on 03303 116775 or lindsey.connett@enablelaw.com

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