Oct 26 2012 By Cheryl Mullin
SIX members of staff caught abusing vulnerable residents at a care home by an undercover journalist have been jailed.
Five others were given suspended sentences by a judge at Bristol Crown Court, who condemned the abuse they meted out to disabled patients at the Winterbourne View private hospital, at Hambrook, South Gloucestershire.
The 11 - nine support workers and two nurses - were caught in a BBC Panorama sting by a reporter with a hidden camera posing as a carer.
His shocking footage showed residents being slapped, soaked in water, trapped under chairs, taunted, sworn at and having their hair pulled and eyes poked.
On one shocking occasion three support workers forcibly held down a resident while a nurse forced paracetamol into her mouth.
Whistleblower Terry Bryan, a former nurse at the home, went to the BBC with his concerns after his complaints to owner Castlebeck and care watchdogs were ignored.
Journalist Joseph Carey recorded shocking footage during a five-week investigation in February and March last year and the programme was shown the following June.
A serious case review published in August criticised Darlington-based Castlebeck Ltd, which owned the hospital, for putting profits before humanity.
The 26-bed hospital opened in 2006 and by 2010 had a turnover of £3.7 million. The average weekly fee for a patient was £3,500.
Prosecutor Kerry Barker said care watchdogs failed to act on repeated warnings of “inhumane, cruel and hate-fuelled treatment” of patients.
“The so-called restraint techniques were used to inflict pain, humiliate patients and bully them into compliance with the demands of their carers,” Mr Barker said.
“It is the Crown’s case that generally the offences were motivated by hostility towards the victims based on their disabilities.