NHS pays compensation to Winterbourne View families

Gazette Series: The former Winterbourne View hospital in Hambrook The former Winterbourne View hospital in Hambrook

THE families of patients who were abused at a private hospital in Hambrook are to be paid compensation.

The terms of the Department of Health payout to the 19 families of vulnerable adults who lived at Winterbourne View have been kept confidential and the NHS has not admitted liability.

Solicitor Andrew Hannam, who represents one of the families, said the sums involved would not be life-changing but would allow for a few luxuries. He said those being compensated would ‘be able to have a bit of fun and perhaps try and balance out what they suffered at Winterbourne View’.

Eleven former staff at the institution, run by Castlebeck, were charged with abuse and neglect after the BBC’s Panorama programme filmed secret footage of patients being restrained, doused with water and taunted. Six of the staff were jailed in a case which shocked the nation and brought about numerous case reviews and apologies from South Gloucestershire Council and Avon and Somerset police.

The patients, who all have serious learning difficulties, were placed at Winterbourne View by referring health authorities.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "The NHS must make sure it is delivering dignified and safe care. The horrific scenes exposed by the BBC at Winterbourne View shocked the whole country. While we do not accept legal liability in these cases it is right we have settled these claims.

"We have made sure action has been taken and former residents of Winterbourne View are now receiving safe, dignified care.

"NHS England and the Local Government Association are working with local areas to transform health and care services for people with learning disabilities and we expect to see a big improvement."

All the hospital’s 24 residents were relocated shortly after the footage was aired in May 2011 Winterbourne View was closed down and Castlebeck later went into administration.

The former hospital, on Vantage Industrial Estate, was bought by Glenside Care Group and will become a neurological rehabilitation centre.

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