Inquiry opens into alleged patient abuse at Muckamore Abbey

A public inquiry has opened into allegations of extensive and repeated abuse of patients at Muckamore Abbey, a hospital for vulnerable adults in 北アイルランド.

The inquiry’s chair, Tom Kark, said at the first hearing on Monday that the allegations of abuse and neglect at the psychiatric facility outside Belfast, in County Antrim, brought the medical, nursing and care professions into disrepute.

“Many of the parents and relatives and carers who trusted the hospital have been let down and they are understandably furious and some feel guilty," 彼は言った. Kark, a QC, said a civilised society had a duty to care for people with learning disabilities and mental illness.

Police have arrested 34 people and more than 70 staff have been suspended as a precaution since the alleged abuse came to light in 2017. ザ・ police investigation will proceed in parallel to the inquiry. Detectives have viewed about 300,000 hours of CCTV footage from the hospital.

Relatives of patients hope the inquiry will shed light on accounts of mental and physical abuse and neglect at what used to be considered one of the best facilities of its kind in Northern Ireland. The hospital currently has about 60 患者, down from about 1,500 1980年代に.

“Without pre-determining any issues, it’s quite obvious that bad practices were allowed to persist at the hospital to the terrible detriment to a number of patients,” Kark told the inquiry.

“Those patients themselves were all without exception highly vulnerable in different ways and so it is understandable there is considerable public anger at some of what has already been revealed. Because so many of the patients were either non-verbal or had difficulty communicating, they couldn’t express what was happening or they weren’t regarded as credible.”

The inquest is to scrutinise the role of the Department of Health, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, which is in charge of Muckamore Abbey.

Glynn Brown reported concerns about the treatment of his son at the facility in August 2017, leading to the creation of a relatives’ pressure group, Action for Muckamore. It complained about the pace of the police investigation and lobbied for a public inquiry, which the health minister, Robin Swann, announced in 2020.

“This is the worst adult safeguarding scandal since the NHS was formed,” Brown told the BBC. “I shouldn’t have had to push and prod and keep raising for this inquiry to be opened but I did. “There have been catastrophic failures in all directions and in all departments. It goes to the very top. We want to know how come every protection measure that was in place failed so miserably.”