The abuse of residents at a care home for people with learning disabilities exposed on television may receive an independent inquiry, the government has admitted.
Amid Labour criticism that existing investigations did not go far enough, care services minister Paul Burstow insisted that a criminal inquiry must not be prejudiced.
Two more people were arrested yesterday over the controversy at Winterbourne View residential home in Gloucestershire, where BBC’s Panorama programme filmed patients being pinned down, slapped, doused in cold water and repeatedly taunted and teased.
Mr Burstow announced that Mencap chief executive Mark Goldring had been called in to help officials at the Department of Health investigate the findings of inquiries by the Care Quality Commission watchdog and the local council.
But he said the government wanted to have all the facts of the case before deciding whether to order a full independent review.
Answering an urgent question from Labour in the Commons, he said: “For the avoidance of doubt, we have not ruled out an independent inquiry. A criminal investigation is under way and it is important that we do nothing that could prejudice it.”
He added: “Once in possession of the full facts and once the police investigation has concluded, we will be in a position to decide what further action is required.”
“We have got to make sure that the regulator we have in place - particularly the CQC - is absolutely established to do the job we want it to do,” said Mr Cameron.
“The last thing we need is another reorganisation of regulators.
“This is now the regulator, this is the responsible body. We have got to make sure they are fully capable of doing all the tasks that are put in front of them.”