IMHSA members are shocked by the abuse of patients at Winterbourne View shown in the Panorama programme on Tuesday. Our thoughts go out to those who were subjected to such mistreatment. These are events that shake public confidence in all aspects of the systems established to ensure that vulnerable patients in hospitals are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve.

These latest revelations and those of the abuse of people with learning disabilities at Cornwall NHS Trust and Sutton and Merton Primary Care Trust in recent years, are deeply distressing and a reminder to be continually vigilant.

All IMHSA members are reiterating their whistle blowing policies to all staff, emphasising a universal zero tolerance to any form of bullying or intimidation and reviewing local safeguarding procedures.

Tens of thousands of support workers care for people with learning disabilities and complex needs. The vast majority are dedicated to providing the best possible safe care for vulnerable people. It is among the most challenging sectors in which to work. The actions of those staff shown in the programme on Tuesday should never be tolerated and IMHSA members are committed to ensuring that they take all steps possible in conjunction with the regulator to continue to deliver the high levels of care that is the norm in the sector

All those who care for vulnerable people should be committed to the safety and protection of the people who use their services. The forthcoming Social Care White Paper presents a significant opportunity to review care for vulnerable people. We urge the government to make use of this opportunity to ensure that the needs of vulnerable people are met.

The Independent Mental Health Services Alliance (IMHSA) is a group of leading independent providers of mental health services. Collectively, our members run more than 600 hospitals and specialist care facilities across the country that provide a range of services for people with mental health problems and complex needs. IMHSA membership accounts for around 90% of the independent mental health sector capacity.

Contact:
Mihir Magudia
Independent Mental Health Services Alliance
020 7227 1643
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www.imhsa.org.uk