Message from NCG: BBC Panorama Programme – Whorlton Hall

Those of you who, like me have watched the BBC Panorama programme on Whorlton Hall, Durham shown on Wednesday 22nd May could not fail to be shocked and upset by the filming of individuals with a learning disability being subjected to totally unacceptable and abhorrent treatment by staff within a specialist hospital.  It is shocking that eight years after Winterbourne View, incidents such as this still occur.

Whilst NCG does not provide hospital services such as that shown on the programme, it does support over 1000 individuals, many with a learning disability, in community settings and at a time where practice is publicly shown to be so poor, it is important that we uphold the highest standards of care and support and that we do not become complacent ourselves and assume that the shocking treatment of individuals cannot and does not occur in any of our services.

I want to make it very clear that NCG will not tolerate abuse of any kind within any of its services and when incidents occur, these will be investigated thoroughly to establish the circumstances contributing to abuse and to identify and deal with any perpetrators appropriately.

Following the programme, the NCG Executive Team will be conducting an urgent review of current processes to ensure that there is constancy and visibility in a number of areas including:

  • The recruitment of staff with the values that are consistent with delivering high quality person centred support
  • A comprehensive review of all incidents of restraint and the use of medication across all services
  • Internal monitoring and audit systems
  • Whistleblowing and complaints/concerns
  • Approaches to positive behavior support and active support across NCG

We owe it to the individuals we support and their families, at this time, to give an assurance that we want  not only to learn lessons from what was shown on Panorama, but that as a responsible provider we constantly review and improve what we do to mitigate risk and deliver support to the highest possible standards.

Whilst writing I would urge everybody to take time to watch the Panorama programme and ask all Managers to make time to evidence reflection of it within team meetings. I would also like to thank everybody for their continued hard work and commitment and for continuing to make such a positive impact on the lives of so many of the individuals we support. Through this hard work and commitment I am confident that NCG can evidence that at all times it is focused on delivering the highest standards and addressing poor practice where it is found to exist

James Allen

Chief Executive, National Care Group