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The abuse of vulnerable adults at Winterbourne View Hospital: the lessons to be learned

Joe Plomin (Producer at BBC Panorama, London, UK)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 2 August 2013

2390

Abstract

Purpose

This article seeks to consider the lessons from one of the worst failures in adult protection in the UK in recent times: the abuse of a number of patients with learning disabilities or autism and challenging behaviour over a number of years at Winterbourne View private hospital in the outskirts of Bristol. The abuse persisted, irrespective of a number of attempts to alert a broad range of regulatory authorities and health professionals about the situation.

Design/methodology/approach

The article provides a detailed analysis of the lessons for professionals responsible for adult protection by one of the journalists most responsible for exposing the abuse at Winterbourne View private hospital. Drawing on information the BBC uncovered during the making of its two films about the subject, the author shares details of relevance to professionals responsible for adult protection and considers the implications of the catastrophic failure to protect vulnerable people.

Findings

This article shows how the lessons from the abuse at Winterbourne View have permeated only to some areas and professionals, not necessarily to where those lessons are most needed. The author suggests that further efforts are required to prevent another, similar scandal happening elsewhere in the UK.

Originality/value

The paper is a unique piece, sharing experiences from a journalist involved with exposing a scandal directly with professionals responsible for adult protection.

Keywords

Citation

Plomin, J. (2013), "The abuse of vulnerable adults at Winterbourne View Hospital: the lessons to be learned", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 182-191. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAP-05-2013-0020

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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