This week, following the shocking investigation by the Panorama programme into a specialist hospital in County Durham for adults with learning difficulties and autism I read comments made by Barry Stanley-Wilkinson, a former Care Quality Commission (CQC) Inspector.
“I am disgusted watching this hospital abuse programme! Three years ago when I worked for CQC I was the lead inspector for that place and raised significant concerns! Internally the report was deleted and never published. I ‘whistle blew’ and an internal investigation found my report should have been published and recommended so. It never was! These vulnerable people have been let down yet again significantly and CQC knew about this because I wrote the report and raised concerns to the highest level possible and nothing was done. A total cover up. I can’t express how angry I feel it was the whole reason why I left after 9 years”
The CQC said at the time that Mr Stanley-Wilkinson's draft report “did not raise any concerns about abusive practice” and his team “had not collected evidence that was robust enough to substantiate a rating of Requires Improvement”.
Barry commented that “[My] report detailed how there was seclusion taking place without any policies or protocols in place, rapid tranquilisation was available without any policies in place…it was also written that where patients raised concerns about the attitudes and behaviours of staff and they did not feel listened too...”
Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, said last week on the government’s official health and social care website: “I have been deeply moved and appalled by the distressing stories of some autistic people and people with learning disabilities spending years detained in mental health units. These vulnerable people are too often left alone, away from their families, friends and communities…I commissioned the Care Quality Commission to review the use of segregation in health and care settings to tackle this issue head on…I hope this is a turning point so everyone receives the care they need.”
The CQC has apologised in the last few days for missing the appalling abuse after giving the 17-bed Whorlton Hall a ‘Good Rating in’ 2018. I leave it to you to question how safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led the Care Quality Commission actually is.