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Winterbourne View lawyer reacts to carers guilty plea

Abuse expert calls for stricter safeguards in privately run hospitals after two carers plead guilty to humiliating patient

Footage of the two carers Rita Page and Lynette Crook

25 March 2014

The lawyer acting for victims of alleged abuse at the Winterbourne View residential care home has reacted angrily after footage emerged of two carers slapping and humiliating a brain-damaged patient in a private hospital.

The carers Rita Page, 68, and Lynette Crook, 33, were warned they faced jail after they pleaded guilty to charges of ill treatment of the patient on the first day of their trial at Bolton Crown Court.

The abuse was caught on a tape between August 28 and September 19 in 2012 after the victim’s family planted a secret camera in his room at The Priory Highbank Centre a specialist hospital for neurological treatment in Bury, Greater Manchester.

Alison Millar, a residential care abuse specialist who represents many people abused in a care setting, including victims of Winterbourne View residential care home, said:

“Questions need to be asked about how this serious ill-treatment of a young man with disabilities can have been inflicted by two members of staff with long-serving and previously unblemished records.

“It is chilling that it took the actions of the family and not the management of the hospital, or the CQC inspectors, to pick up on concerns and investigate them.”

Mrs Page and Mrs Crook were caught smacking the young victim’s legs and swearing at him as they changed his bedding.

In the footage Rita Page can be heard saying: ‘You won’t beat us, b******. There’s this very fine line between abuse and neglect.’

Crook is caught saying: ‘Better not think about being sick on me lad. I don’t do sick, so stop it scummy lad. Don’t you dare be sick on me boy, don’t you dare - you dirty, scummy boy.’

The victim's uncle said: "All institutions must be brought to justice and we wanted to make sure these two women were brought to account for what they did.

"We were very concerned about the treatment our relative was getting and we made that many complaints that two family members got banned from the premises.  

"As a family we are more than happy with their [guilty] pleas and they will be shown up for what they are. We want a petition for cameras in care homes for vulnerable people like him. If you have nothing to be ashamed of then it won’t be an intrusion."

Ms Millar concluded: “This case is frighteningly reminiscent of the appalling treatment our clients at Winterbourne View private hospital had to endure. The Serious Case Review into that privately run institution found that long-stay institutional care of people with long-term, chronic neurological disabilities and mental health conditions is a flawed model.

“The review found that vulnerable service users are at particular risk of being subject to arbitrary breaches of human rights. More still needs to be done to ensure robust regulation of the private care sector by the CQC and appropriate safeguarding and monitoring by responsible commissioning bodies."

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