The Nursing and Midwifery Council has confirmed that it has given three nurses from the now closed facility in County Durham interim suspension orders to protect the safety of patients.
“We applied for these orders to keep people who use health and care services, and their families, safe”
It comes after a BBC Panorama episode in May appeared to show patients with learning disabilites being deliberately taunted and intimidated and inappropriately restrained by staff at the 17-bed specialist private hospital.
The matter has been referred to a police investigation and the Care Quality Commission has also commissioned an independent review of its regulation of Whorlton Hall, which provided NHS care.
Matthew McClelland, director of fitness to practise at the NMC, has now confirmed three nurses from the facility have been suspended while their cases are investigated further.
“Following the appalling abuse captured at Whorlton Hall in the Panorama programme, an independent panel has placed interim suspension orders on three nurses,” he said.
“We applied for these orders to keep people who use health and care services, and their families, safe,” he added.
“We remain in contact with the care provider and with the police as part of their criminal inquiry, as we continue with our regulatory investigation,” said Mr McClelland.
matthew mc clelland
Whorlton Hall, which was taken over by independent provider Cygnet Health Care at the end of last year as part of its take-over of Danshell Group, has since been shut down.
Clinical psychologist Professor Glynis Murphy has been commissioned to look into the CQC’s regulation of Whorlton Hall between 2015 and 2019.
According to the terms of reference, the review will consider whether “the abuse of patients that has been identified could have been recognised earlier by the regulatory or inspection process”.
It will go on to make recommendations for how the CQC can improve its regulation of similar services in the future, including the way risk is considered when planning inspections.
Meanwhile, Nursing Times reported yesterday that another mental health and learning disabilities hospital run by Cygnet in Colchester had been placed into special measures by the CQC due to concerns about safety and inappropriate behaviour by staff.