Marlborough hostel linked to abuse of adults with learning difficulties (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Ridgeway Partnership apologises for 'letting down families' after latest BBC Panorama findings
A Marlborough hostel has been implicated in the ongoing investigation into the abuse and mistreatment of adults with learning difficulties.
It follows the jailing last week of six staff from the former Winterbourne View hospital near Bristol after filming of abuse for the BBC Panorama programme.
Four other members of staff were given suspended sentences.
Two of the residents at Winterbourne View - Simon Tovey who lives near Devizes and Simone Blake whose family also lives in Wiltshire - featured in the original Panorama programme in May and again on Monday in a follow up programme which revealed there had been abuse at Postern House, Marlborough.
Postern House, in Orchard Road near St John’s School, is run by the Oxfordshire-based Ridgeway Partnership NHS Trust as a small hospital for adults with a range of learning disabilities.
It opened in the early 1970s as a hostel for what were then termed mentally handicapped.
It was the residential wing of the former Marlborough Adult Training Centre where men and women with learning disabilities engaged in a variety of crafts.
Last night’s Panorama documentary showed that Simon was sent to Postern House after the revelation of the catalogue of abuse incidents at Winterbourne View and Simone had been at the Marlborough hostel before she was sent to the Bristol home.
While Simon was at Postern House he told his advocate, Sue Armstrong, that he had been subjected to further abuse.
She told the programme: “He told me he had been hit and he was pointing to his head and his body.”
He had also received a cut to his head. The advocate asked Simon who had hit him and he told her: “A member of staff.”
The BBC investigation showed there had been three recorded incidents of mistreatment in Simon’s notes covering his stay at Postern House and one “worrying injury”.
His records showed that in once instance he had been frogmarched to his room and in another incident he had been restrained inappropriately by someone lying across his chest.
Simone Blake’s records showed that in one four-hour period at Postern House she was restrained ten times.
In a statement the Ridgeway Partnership said: "We are sorry that families feel we let them down in terms of our communications with them and we will be contacting them to apologise personally.
"We also regret that the experience of some of the people we support and care for wasn't what it should have been.
"In terms of the support and care we provide, managing incidents, raising safeguarding alerts, and being extremely conscientious in ensuring our services are safe and supportive are all priorities for us.
"We strive to provide care which is what we would want for our own loved ones, and we will continue to do that.
"We accept that there have been occasions when families feel we have fallen short of their expectations and we intend to listen to them and learn from that."
Wiltshire Council, which is responsible for protecting care home residents in the county, said in a statement: “This council takes the safeguarding of vulnerable adults very seriously and it is our number one priority to ensure that we do all that we can to protect and support those who are most vulnerable.
“The abuse exposed at Winterbourne View was shocking and disturbing and Panorama raised the difficult and complex issue of care for adults with learning difficulties.
“Wiltshire Council took immediate action following the Winterbourne View exposure last year.
"We work closely with our public sector partners to care for vulnerable adults and, in particular, the two Wiltshire residents, who were featured in the Panorama programme broadcast last year and in Monday’s programme.”
"Wiltshire Council takes the lead on all safeguarding matters in the county. Any alerts are taken seriously and always investigated promptly.
"Wiltshire Council did carry out an investigation at Postern House following safeguarding alerts. A number of actions were implemented and both the council and its partners, including Wiltshire Police, were confident that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate a crime or abuse.
"Postern House providers Ridgeway Partnership reacted quickly to advise the council of the safeguarding alerts and acted appropriately to support the investigation.
"Although Wiltshire Council did not place or make the decision to place the two Wiltshire residents featured in the Panorama programme in either Winterbourne View or Postern House (or other establishments), which are facilities commissioned by the NHS, it does have responsibility for addressing any safeguarding alert or matter in Wiltshire."
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