• Draft of CQC’s 2015 report into Whorlton Hall reveals patients accused staff of bullying and using inappropriate behaviour
  • Comes after regulator said last week the report “did not raise any concerns about abusive practice”
  • Follows claims from a former CQC inspector that a report he authored raising concerns of poor care was “buried”

Care Quality Commission inspectors were aware patients at Whorlton Hall had accused staff of “bullying and inappropriate behaviour”, according to a draft report.

According to a 2015 draft CQC report for Whorlton Hall hospital, where the horrifying abuse of patients with learning disabilities was exposed by BBC Panorama last month, “patients had accused staff of bullying and using inappropriate behaviour”.

However, the CQC has claimed its draft “did not raise any concerns about abusive practice”, in response to allegations by a former inspector, Barry Stanley-Wilkinson, who claimed his original report did raise concerns over poor care.

The CQC has since commissioned an independent inquiry into its regulation of Whorlton Hall.

Four versions of the CQC’s draft report have been published today, all of which said: “Patients had accused staff of bullying and using inappropriate behaviour. Where patients had a known history of making allegations there were care plans in place with clear protocols for staff to follow.

“We did note in one patient’s records it stated where they made allegations against staff the first step was to ‘ignore’ the allegation and escalate only if the allegation was repeated. There was no information detailing why the patient may make allegations against staff and how the patient was to be supported and protected.”

The draft report also revealed that from October 2014 to April 2015, there were four “serious untoward incidents” which included an allegation against staff and another incident which “related to a patient in distress”.

In all four drafts, a “requires improvement” rating was given.

None of the above findings appear in the final report that was published in June 2016, in which the provider was rated as “good”. Instead the CQC’s published report said: “Six incidents related to allegations of verbal or physical abuse of patients by staff members.”

In a statement to HSJ, a CQC spokeswoman said: “If an inspection finds evidence of abusive practices, the lead inspector would be expected to take immediate action to protect people. Depending on the nature and severity of the issues identified, these actions could include notifying the police, making a safeguarding referral, or taking urgent enforcement action.

“From the evidence we have seen so far, it appears that none of these actions were taken following the August 2015 inspection of Whorlton Hall.

“As you will be aware we have commissioned David Noble to undertake an independent review into how we dealt with concerns raised by Barry Stanley-Wilkinson in relation to the regulation of Whorlton Hall. This review will focus on concerns raised about the draft report prepared in 2015, and how they were addressed through our internal processes.

“It will be for the independent reviewer to report on the handling of our draft reports and it is important not to pre-empt their findings.”