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Winterbourne View

Volume 534: debated on Monday 31 October 2011

I promised to update the House about ongoing activity in relation to Winterbourne View private hospital and other facilities for people with learning disabilities.

Since I announced that Winterbourne View had closed and that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) had published its compliance report on Winterbourne View on 18 July, the CQC has inspected another 23 Castlebeck Care services in England. Its inspection reports were published on 28 July and are available on the CQC website at www.cqc.org.uk. While half of these services were compliant with safety and quality requirements, the CQC had more serious concerns about four locations and has taken further action in relation to these. Two of these homes, Rose Villa and Arden Vale, closed in August.

In June, CQC announced a programme of unannounced inspections of services for people with learning disabilities following the abuse uncovered at Winterbourne View. CQC has now begun this programme of inspections of 150 hospitals and care homes which is looking at a sample of services for people with learning disabilities similar to those provided at Winterbourne View.

The CQC inspection programme will assess how well people with learning disabilities experience effective, safe and appropriate care, treatment and support that meets their needs and protects their rights; and whether they are protected from abuse. As at 24 October, inspectors had visited 27 locations and are in the process of considering the evidence.

As in the case of CQC’s review of the 23 Castlebeck services, where CQC finds that a service is failing to meet the safety and quality requirements, it has powers to take appropriate action which include demanding improvements, issuing a formal warning notice or in the most serious cases closing down a service.

CQC will publish reports for each location setting out its findings and a national overview in spring 2012. A second phase of the review will use the learning from phase one to look at a sample of other registered services covering alternative models of provision for people with learning disabilities.

The results of the CQC inspections programme will feed into the wider Department of Health review of the lessons from Winterbourne View. We are still gathering evidence from the serious case review and the NHS serious untoward incident review, and taking the views of organisations and individuals on how services for people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour can be improved.

While these reviews and inspections are ongoing we are taking action to address emerging issues. For example, CQC have amended their whistle-blowing policy. Where issues for local management are highlighted in the NHS review, they will be developing actions plans to deal with this.

Ministers will publish and report to Parliament on the Government’s response to their findings.

I will continue to update the House on further developments.