College deplores abuse scenes

Statement / comment
25 May 2019

The Royal College of Psychiatrists deplores the scenes of physical, emotional and mental abuse screened in the BBC Panorama programme on 22 May 2019. 

The College, and particularly the College’s Faculty of Psychiatry of Intellectual Disabilities, condemn the appalling images of abuse which appeared to be perpetrated by care staff responsible for caring for vulnerable adults with intellectual disabilities and / or Autism.  

These images and allegations are especially regrettable coming, as they do, eight years after the abuse uncovered at Winterbourne View, another hospital and the promises that this would never be allowed to happen again. 

We accept that under certain circumstances in-patient care is required for people in extreme states of distress. Such care should be effective and for the shortest period of time with clear pathways to discharge in to community care. 

We support Sir Stephen Bubb in his call for the development of skilled, community services closer to the person’s home as alternatives to hospital care.

 The programme raises the issue of regulation of all care services and the effectiveness of the current system in ensuring vulnerable people are protected and feel safe. 

 We call on NHS England, the Care Quality Commission and all parties providing care to people with intellectual disabilities and / or Autism to demonstrate clear leadership in ensuring that people receive high-quality, effective and safe care through the development of competent services to meet the needs of people with intellectual disabilities to lead meaningful lives in their communities.

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