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Winterbourne View nurses jailed


Two nurses who admitted wilfully neglecting patients with learning disabilities at Winterbourne View hospital have been jailed.

Sookalingum Appoo, 58, of Dial Lane, Bristol, and Kelvin Fore, 33, of Ellesmere Walk, Middlesbrough, were each given six month sentences at Bristol Crown Court today.

Four healthcare support workers from Winterbourne View were also jailed while a further five received suspended sentences and unpaid community work.

Wayne Rogers, 32, admitted nine counts of ill-treating patients, and was jailed for two years, while Alison Dove and Graham Doyle were handed 20 months behind bars after they both pleaded guilty to seven charges of abuse. Holly Draper, 23, from Mangotsfield was sentenced to 12 months.

Sentencing, Judge Neil Ford QC said there was a “culture of cruelty” at the hospital for patients with learning disabilities and autism.

The abuse of patients at the hospital was exposed by the BBC’s Panorama programme after nurse Terry Bryan blew the whistle. His previous attempts to raise concerns with management and the Care Quality Commission were ignored.

A serious case review by South Gloucestershire Council found there was extensive misuse of physical restraint by nurses and support workers at the hospital which was owned and operated by Castlebeck Ltd.

Speaking after the sentencing, Avon and Somerset Police detective chief superintendent Louisa Rolfe, said: “Today, in sentencing these people, Judge Ford has recognised the inhumanity of their behaviour.

“There are no words to describe the horrific, vindictive treatment these offenders meted out to the vulnerable young adults of Winterbourne View.

“They and their loved ones should have felt safe and secure in the knowledge they were being well cared for. Instead these vulnerable young people were subjected to the most extreme and persistent abuse.”


Readers' comments (29)

  • Hopefully the jail sentence will will send out a clear message that abuse in healthcare will no longer be tolerated.

    Or will it?

    Until the Management and Human Resource department who recruited the abusers and the so called Care Commission who failed to respond to the courageous employee who blew the whistle on this abuse, are called to account such criminal abuse will continue. Why have they not been charged?

    Abuse in the healthcare system is still happening. all because whistleblowers are not listened to. In fact whistleblowers are being intimidated and hounded out of their jobs. What message does this give to other staff?

    By seeing no evil, hearing no evil, other staff will have a pay cheque at the end of the month. Many courageous whistleblowers will never work in healthcare again; all because corrupt managers and Care Commission will blacklist them.

    We should not need undercover evidence to convict criminals. Healthcare staff who stand on the sideline and refuse to support whistleblowers are as guilty as the actual perpetrators.
    Patients First was launched in December 2011 to support those raising concerns about risks and to patient care and safety.For information see
    email patientsfirst

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  • what about the management and CQC who ignored the original concerns, will they face prosecution too for allowing this to continue.

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  • I agree with the prosecutions and the jail sentences but like those who have posted above how on earth are the owners of this business and the CQC getting away with it?? They are just as guilty.

    At least the Police have apologised for not prosecuting a member of staff there who punched a patients teeth out, and the case has now been re opened but the CQC will not admit any mistakes or even apologise, shame on them they are truly useless!

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  • Anonymous

    Anonymous | 27-Oct-2012 11:34 am

    The prosecutions of the nurses will, I assume, be under the Mental Capacity Act, and I think you must effectively be 'directly involved' with the patient in order to fall foul of that Act.

    Senior managers, would I suspect need to be pursued under someting else - I'm not sure if there is a law which would allow for their prosection, or not.

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  • There must surely be some governing body for managers ie Institute of management.
    CQC needs to be referred for a parliamentary inquiry (yet again).

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  • kathleen white | 27-Oct-2012 11:11 am, whilst I agree with what you say, don't forget that this abuse will continue to happen as long as healthcare is given out to the cheapest bidder and the only priority for management is their profit and bottom line. They pay peanuts to the wrong staff, they do not care about the people in their homes, only how much profit is in every month. And this is the way the entire NHS is going too.

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  • michael stone

    kathleen white | 27-Oct-2012 12:39 pm

    I'm sure that in principle senior managers can be held to account in various ways - but I think Dim is right, and that the front-line care staff were charged under the MCA, and the management cannot be charged under that Act.

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  • what about everybody else involved such as managers, owners, those who ignored the whistleblowers, other staff working in the home and relatives who knew what was going on and the regulatory body such as the CQC who are supposed to ensure that standards are maintained.

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  • from above

    should also include the local and other responsible health and social care authorities

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  • Here we go - yet - again. Those who carried out wicked assaults on vunerable persons are rightly given custodial sentences and will presumably be kicked off the Nurses Register in perpetuity.

    The sentencing make a great headline as will the miscreants removal from the Register. Woo hoo.

    In the meantime those RESPONSIBLE for the "culture of cruelty" ie.the nurse manager(s) concerned will get down on their knees and, no doubt sweating buckets of devotional thanks, give praise to their God that there is no law under which they too may be prosecuted. Perhaps they will at least be removed from the register also?

    I await the NMC's decision with bated breath.

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  • what do people mean when they say they were charged under the MCA, why was this?

    others responsible should be held to account, including the CQC and has the home been shut down?

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 28-Oct-2012 9:04 am

    There does not seem to be a law in England, making it a duty to 'care for' another adult.

    The Mental Capacity Act specifically introduced a section covering 'abuse of people in your care' (my phrase, and I've an idea it is section 44 from memory) but it seems to me, that only people with 'hands-on' roles can be charged under that section.

    Others (managers etc) are definitely responsible, but it is less clear how they can be dealt with - it always gets more difficult, as one 'physically moves away from the event' (as it is to 'charge someone' if an over-worked nurse makes a mistake, with 'you did not provide enough staff').

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  • Section 3 of the H&S at Work Act could be used against the owners/managers

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  • tinkerbell

    sadly nothing will really change, cruel cultures will always exist until there is 'zero tolerance'in society and all those involved whether overtly or covertly, employees, managers and owners, CQC who turned a blind eye to concerns that were raised, have to pay the price too.

    CQC have got away it seems scott free, so have the managers and the owners and the private company providing the care and employing, not just a couple of psychopathic sadistic employees but a host of them it seems.

    I have seen some wonderful individuals over my career as a nurse, more good than bad thank God but sadly i have seen things that make me wonder why as human being we tolerate cruelty in our work place.

    I have spoken out when i have seen cruelty and i have been 'dealt' with but not the perpertrators, who got moved sideways and promoted, whilst a big broom swept everything under the carpet.

    It's very easy it seems for a bad culture to evolve, like a garden of weeds it will grow and take over. I am just thankful that hopefully good will prevail.

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  • thanks for your replies, were the staff jailed to satisfy the public and the media, have the government just been seen to be doing something about this. I don't understand why the CQC, the company that run the home and the managers have not been charged and jailed. Concerns were raised and ignored, there is no excuse for that so why have so many people got away with this scott free?

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  • Winterborne View is interesting because it highlighted:
    - the complacency of NHS commissioners in relation to specialist provision for vulnerable with complex and challenging behaviour.
    - lack of supervision for registered nurses working in non NHS settings (Social care, independant sector, primary care etc.)
    - the dangers of not adequately recruiting on the basis of compassion in sectors which traditionally struggle to recruit.
    There seems in the posts a over reliance of what CQC should have done and a really lack of focus on what should be required when you commission a service i.e. expect and monitor the contract is met in respect to appropriate recruitment, staffing, complaints and adverse incidents - there was a disproprotionate amount of A&E attendances. Where were the commissioners of this service and how have they been held to account.

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  • Yes But

    Anonymous | 28-Oct-2012 4:36 pm

    No, the staff were jailed becaue they were deliberately ill-treating people with learning difficulties who were supposedly in their care.

    The fact that nobody within higher management has ended up in jail, so far as I know, highlights the complexity of the laws.

    tinkerbell | 28-Oct-2012 2:14 pm

    Exactly - spot on.

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  • I think we need to wait to see what else transpires as it may be that further action will be taken against the management and CQC. It certainly should be. I have no problem with the premises being used again but management of the premises should be given to a competent, reputable and honest company, (if there is one), all the staff scrutinised and if necessary sacked and new people employed. The residents who were subjected to the abuse should still be given the option to stay with new staff or move to a properly managed and kind and caring new home. We have to remember that the facilities look good so if the staff can be found to look after residents then hopefully, the future residents would have nice and caring workforce and pleasant surroundings in which to live. No doubt a name change might be helpful too. CQC and other review bodies need to be scrutinised too. I hope there is a huge review and unannounced visits to all nursing homes whether for learning disbilities or for the elderly as I reckon this is not an isolated situation. Good practice should be implemented and enforced (if one can), as I also feel that there must be very good places too.

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  • It is definitely a sign of the times when 'just law' is certainly being unjust when these evil people are only given six months sentencing for being supposedly being in the care profession. They should have been given longer sentences in my opinion and should have their registration taken away indefinitely.

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  • I personally feel the place should now close and all involved including the managers have their pin numbers taken away and be unable to work in caring for the public ever again. The public trust ´us´ as healthcare professionals to take care of them and their family members. Im sickened by the abuse both mentally and physically to vulnerable patients.

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  • michael stone

    tinkerbell | 28-Oct-2012 2:14 pm

    Tink, it is only yout final sentence that I'm not sure about - but I tend to not be optimistic.

    The half-ear I had on Radio 4 at lunchtime, heard (I think) an ex health Minister suggesting that there should be a law introduced that would allow for more senior managers to be jailed.

    Panorama is doing a follow-up on WV at 8-30 tonight, adn between 8 and 8-30 there is a Dispatches programme about 'the privatisation of the NHS' (my phrase - can't exactly remeber the title): that is either Ch4 or Ch5.

    Isn't it peculiar, how politicians see the problems so much more clearly, after they have left office ?

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  • Perhaps if there is no current legislation that allows the owners/managers and CQC to be prosecuted, then the legislation needs to be reviewed.

    Perhaps this is necessary not just because of this specific horror, but to ensure greater protection of whistleblowers - if owners/managers and indeed the CQC know they can be prosecuted for ignoring warnings from whistleblowers - and what law it is that would allow this, along with the potential penalties, then that just might be an incentive for them to listen rather than punish/blacklist/brush under the carpet.

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  • Aren't the managers/supervisors/owners of these establishments vicariously responsible for the actionsof their employees?

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  • They should have been jailed for GBH or ABH. The owners should knock the building down and give over the land to good causes, no-one would want to stay in that horrid place.

    They should be fined, their company shut down, the managers and others who knew what was going on held to account.

    What's the point in the CQC, NMC, social services, safeguarding officers, etc. if abuse goes on when concerns have been raised? It happens over and over again.

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  • The Guardian reported on what happened to the managers (Castlebeck is the company that owned Winterbourne)

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  • this is what should have been in place before the place was opened, good to see a turnaround but the company have no right to continue operating and should be closed down.

    no health care setting should be opened without being properly staffed and managed and this company are obviously just out to make money.

    the poor people that were 'inmates' there don't give a hoot about what they have now achieved, neither do I.

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  • I am glad to see this issue has been addressed. However as usual it is only the nurses involved in this terrible incident are blamed. I can't imagine that any of these nurses started off in the profession to end up behaving in such an appalling manner. The question is why did they end up like this? Is it years of abuse, bullying and dreadful working conditions? Nurses put up with a lot and in 21 years of nursing I have never met a nurse yet that hasn't been attacked both physically or verbally. Most of the time it is pushed under the carpet so to speak. This does not excuse the behaviour of these nurses but questions need to be asked why this happened at all and provision put in place to stop this from happening again and that means dealing with the violence that takes place daily on hardworking good and kind people who don't want to end up burnt out .

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  • I don't know much about the qualified nurses, did they have a specialist learning disability qualification. Nurse training has changed, it used to be a separate training course and I doubt this would have happened then because this was a field nurses chose to go into.

    I've been attacked, abused, shouted at and have worked hard for 20 years but would never do this to anyone. How can anyone justify doing what they did, slapping people,pushing people, standing on their arms, leaving them out in the cold. It was nothing more than just plain cruelty dished out by thugs who abused their position.

    How on earth did they get employed in the first place? What's the point of references, enhanced CRB checks, interviews, regulation if they can get work in the caring industry.

    The training department were a disgrace.

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  • David Dickinson

    Mmm..interesting but dare I say predictable ranges of comments. Its necessary to understand socio-cultural effects re the Winterbourne nurses. Wayne Rodgers was clearly a self opinionated and very dominant character who, unrestrained applied his personal interpretation of effective "care" leadership in the absence of day-to-day and moreover hands-on ethically driven practice-led leadership and against a restraint training background that recommended "kicking in the bollocks" as the final means of self protection. I strongly suspect that the nurses, who I understand were criticised for force-administering medication to service users under restraint were quite possibly kindly enough on individual bases and it would be interesting to know something of the views of service users towards those nurses. It is quite possible that the nurses were operating within impossible circumstances and they were faced with whistle blowing options that their training certainly never prepared them for in terms of taking on hugely powerful interests not least of which would have been messers Rogers and Co who would have been imedietelly inclined to square-up to their accusers. Remember, had Panorama been unlucky for whatever reason (his spy camara was nearly discovered in the show) or staff had gone sick etc and the Panorama team had decided not to transmit then those abuses would still be occuring and those nurses continuing to quite possibly agonise about what they should do. As a wise old charge nurse once said "there by the grace of God go we".

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