Healthcare professionals in Jersey who work with people with learning disabilities and Autism are to have the chance to find out more about vigilance to do with abuse of vulnerable people this week when two UK experts come to Jersey to deliver a seminar on the topic on 12 February.
The seminar, called “The Scandal of Winterbourne View Hospital: Lessons for Jersey” concentrates on the failures of care identified following the Winterbourne View Private Hospital in Hambrook, South Gloucestershire.
It was exposed in a Panorama investigation into physical and psychological abuse suffered by people with learning disabilities and Autism, who can have challenging behaviour, which was broadcast in 2011. The private hospital was shut down as a result of the abuse, and as a result of the Panorama programme, 11 members of staff at the hospital were convicted of almost 40 charges of neglect and ill treatment of those in their care.
The seminar will be delivered by Dr Margaret Flynn, Chair of the serious Case Review of Winterbourne View Private Hospital and Chair of Lancashire Safeguarding Board and Mr Richard Mills, Adviser to the States of Jersey on Autism, Research Director of the National Autistic Society and Research Autism, and Specialist Adviser to British Institute of Learning Disabilities on Physical Interventions, in the Hospital’s Halliwell Theatre. It is for interested healthcare professionals from HSSD, parents of people with learning difficulties and Autism, and staff from local care homes as well as a number of colleagues from Guernsey.
Assumpta Finn, Lead for Learning disabilities and Autism at HSSD said: “We are not saying that this type of abuse is happening in Jersey, but constant vigilance about this issue, when we as professionals deal with some of the most vulnerable people in society, is absolutely essential. We know that this kind of abuse is appalling, and distressing and there is no place for it in care particularly as people in this group can’t speak out for themselves. But there are wider questions to consider, such as why it happens, and more importantly, when it does happen, why do some staff speak out and others don’t? And, above all, how can we prevent such abuse from happening?
“We are very pleased to welcome Dr Flynn and Mr Mills to deliver this seminar to so many interested people, and hope that everyone leaves with a renewed awareness of this type of abuse, and all that can be done to stop it. Every healthcare organisation in Jersey, and the staff within those organisations, should aim to treat people with care and dignity, and seminars such as this might be disturbing, but they are essential reminders that we all have a role to play in ensuring such abuse never happens, and how those who might have concerns can raise them without fear.”