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Winterbourne View Hospital: a glimpse of the legacy

Margaret Flynn (Director, Flynn and Eley Associates Ltd, CPEA Ltd, Liverpool, England)
Vic Citarella (Director, CPEA Ltd, Liverpool, UK)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 2 August 2013




This paper concerns the fall‐out from a TV programme which exposed the arbitrariness of cruelty at a private hospital that purported to provide assessment, treatment and rehabilitation to adults with learning disabilities, autism and mental health problems. The paper seeks to address the issues involved.


It describes the principal findings of a Serious Case Review which was commissioned after the TV broadcast, and outlines some of the activities designed to reduce the likelihood of such abuses recurring.


From policy, commissioning, regulation, management, service design and practice perspectives, events at Winterbourne View Hospital highlight a gulf between professionals, professionals and their organisations, and leadership shortcomings.


The English government responded promptly and encouragingly to the wretched circumstances of patients at Winterbourne View Hospital with a “Timetable of Actions”. The Serious Case Review which was commissioned after the TV broadcast contributed to the growing scepticism of “out of sight, out of mind” placements. It covered wide‐ranging territory.



Flynn, M. and Citarella, V. (2013), "Winterbourne View Hospital: a glimpse of the legacy", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 173-181.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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