FOUR HOSPITAL staff working in an English hospital owned by prominent Irish investors, Denis Brosnan, JP McManus, Dermot Desmond and John Magnier, have been arrested, following allegations of abuse against patients.
The charges were levelled by BBC Panorama’s programme, which spent months investigating the Winterbourne View hospital in Bristol, after it was approached by a whistle-blower whose earlier attempts to raise the alarm were not heeded.
Winterbourne is part of the Castlebeck Group, which was bought in 2006 for £255 million by the Swiss-based Lydian Capital Partners, which was set up by Mr Brosnan as a private investment company after he left Kerry Group.
He was joined as investors in Lydian by Mr McManus, Mr Desmond and Mr Magnier, along with other equally wealthy, but so far unidentified individuals. Lydian later bought out the successful Chrysalis radio group. Broadcast on Tuesday, the Panorama programme showed film recorded by an undercover reporter where a nurse goaded a patient about suicide, and subjected others to cold showers. In another clip, a patient was pinned to the floor by a chair.
Non-executive directors at Castlebeck, who include Mr Brosnan’s son, Paul, ordered an independent inquiry to be carried out into care standards at each of the company’s 56 hospitals after Panorama made some of the allegations known to them last month.
The whistleblower, Terry Bryan – a former nurse at the hospital – had written twice last year to Castlebeck management and complained to the Care Quality Commission independent regulator about the treatment meted out to patients. However, no investigation was then carried out by the hospital management or the regulator.
Castlebeck’s non-executive directors were “completely appalled” by the behaviour, a source close to them said last night. “As soon as they learned of the shocking allegations they were as revolted as anyone else would be.”
A Price Waterhouse Coopers inquiry was ordered by the non-executive directors, following instructions from the shareholders, the source added. “They are completely fronting up to this, and will do everything possible to look after the interests of the patients.”
Acknowledging that a complaint had been made by Mr Bryan on October 11th, 2010, Castlebeck said the company’s usual rules for investigating allegations were not followed.
“Neither the chief executive nor any member of Castlebeck’s board was made aware of the issue at any time before May 12, 2011. Two members of our managerial staff have been suspended pending further inquiries into their conduct,” the company said.
Facing complaints about its performance, the commission said following an internal review it now recognised it should have taken action sooner. “We apologise to those who have been let down by our failure to act more swiftly,” it said.
What gets me is that the taxpayer pays out a massive £3,500 ($5,600) per person per week for care in those private institutions. Regardless of the fact that the care isn't there in this case, how on Earth can they justify those payments? It's the same with private elderly residential care. Nice money if you can get it.
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