Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North Care Homes Probed by Police; Company Was at Centre of BBC Expos

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

North Care Homes Probed by Police; Company Was at Centre of BBC Expos

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Tully

TWO Northumberland care homes run by the company at the centre of a patient mistreatment scandal have been investigated by police and care trust chiefs, it was revealed last night.

Chesterholme and Oaklands Care Homes, at Hexham, were being "monitored closely" even before a BBC Panorama programme exposed staff of Castlebeck badly mistreating vulnerable patients at Winterbourne View in Bristol in May. Jane Bowie, Northumberland Care Trust Strategic Commissioning and Safeguarding Associate Director, said last night: "We have had concerns about some aspects of the operation of Chesterholme and Oaklands for some time, and were monitoring them closely before the Panorama investigation into the Castlebeck hospital in Bristol.

"We have investigated a number of allegations of abuse, involving the police as appropriate, and have ensured suitable action has subsequently been taken as a result." The infamous Panorama probe in May sparked an immediate investigation into Castlebeck's 23 care homes across the country by the Government's Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The Hexham homes were inspected on June 21st.

Chesterholme and Oaklands, which house 24 and 25 patients - some mental health cases - respectively, were found to be "non-compliant", meaning they did not fulfil basic precautionary regulations.

The CQC has demanded "root and branch" improvements at all levels nationally, and labelled four Castlebeck homes - in Solihull, Nottingham, Melton Mowbray and Rose Villa - as "raising serious concerns".

The CQC report says concerns were raised at Oaklands over care and welfare, safeguarding from abuse, consent to care and treatment, respecting and involving patients, staffing, workers' requirements and service provision.

At Chesterholme, concerns focused on respect and involvement, care and welfare, safeguarding from abuse, supporting staff and service provision.

A CQC spokesman said they had identified potential loopholes rather than actual happenings, and demanded urgent assessment reports in return from Castlebeck. …

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