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How hospital abuse scandal unfolded

Here is a timeline of how concerns over patients' treatment at Winterbourne View private hospital led to the widespread condemnation of care at the private facility and the jailing of former members of staff.


:: February 11 - A Winterbourne View patient alleges abuse from staff members, one of whom is later suspended.

:: March 16 - Another patient alleges that a staff member assaulted her. The staff member is suspended and police are contacted but no further action is taken.

:: April 15 - Police recorded a professionals' meeting at Winterbourne View following the alleged sexual assault of a patient by a member of staff.

:: May - A Mental Health Act Commission report shows that a number of recommendations on an action plan for the hospital remain unresolved.

:: July 8 - Another staff member is suspended following an allegation of abusing a patient. The victim later retracts her allegation and the investigation is subsequently concluded.

:: August - Staff shortages noted, as patients complain of boredom.

:: December - Seven months of Winterbourne View being run without a registered manager are brought to an end with a new appointment.


:: January 26 - Police receive a report of abuse by a staff member of a patient. No further investigation is carried out.

:: March 24 - Another healthcare visit discovers Winterbourne View is continuing in its failure to comply with certain regulations relating to standards of care.

:: April - A Winterbourne View worker raises concerns about staff shortages. There is no evidence of these worries being acknowledged.

:: May 24 - A patient goes missing from the hospital and is later found by police.

:: August - A patient twice reports being abused by a staff member. The Public Protection Unit fails to investigate.

:: September - Staff are seen pulling a patient's hair and using inappropriate restraint. Police do not take any action.

:: October 14 - Police receive two phone calls from patients describing "things kicking off". But a staff member tells the operator there is no reason to send police and the matter is dropped.


:: January - A new manager starts at Winterbourne View. One of their first jobs is to deal with further allegations of assault, this time from one patient on another.

:: February - There are further allegations of assault, resulting in two staff being suspended.

:: June 12 - A staff member forces an armchair into the chest of a patient until he is yelling in pain and nearly crying.

The incident was disclosed by a former member of staff in June 2011 when the situation was highlighted by the transmission of the BBC1 Panorama documentary Undercover Care: The Abuse Exposed. This was the first time that police were notified of the event.

:: July 17 - Patients complain of being locked outside and staff being "really horrible".

:: August 17 - Terry Bryan begins working at Winterbourne View. He would later contact Panorama over the abuse he saw.

:: October 11 - Mr Bryan sends a whistleblowing email about his concerns to the acting manager of Winterbourne View entitled "I've had enough". South Gloucestershire Council's Safeguarding Adults team say Mr Bryan's concerns "can't be ignored".

:: October - Nurse Ashleigh Fox contacts the Care Quality Commission about her concerns.


:: February 14 - Undercover journalist Joseph Casey begins work at Winterbourne View.

:: March 2: A patient discloses to her family that two staff members had leaned on her chest during restraint, causing chest pains. An incident form was completed. Neither the CQC nor South Gloucestershire Council Adult Safeguarding were informed.

:: May 12: Notification is received from the managing director of Castlebeck Ltd enclosing a letter from the BBC outlining instances of abuse a reporter had witnessed while working undercover at the hospital. The CQC was informed of the prospective Panorama transmission.

:: May 23: Castlebeck's chief executive writes to patients' families to inform them of the allegations, saying staff alleged to have been involved have been suspended and brought to the attention of police.

:: May 31 - BBC Panorama, Undercover Care: The Abuse Exposed is broadcast. Castlebeck Ltd apologises and suspends 13 members of staff.

:: June 1 - Avon and Somerset Police arrest four people in connection with the abuse. They are later bailed.

:: June 7 - Five more members of staff are arrested and later bailed.

:: June 9 - Another two people are arrested by police and bailed.

:: June 24 - Winterbourne View is closed by Castlebeck.

:: August 2 - The CQC tells Castlebeck that it has serious concerns about four of the services run by the group, and that a further seven do not fully comply with essential standards of quality and safety.

:: August 17 - The third care home, in Meriden, near Coventry, run by Castlebeck closes. Arden Vale's closure follows that of Winterbourne View and Rose Villa in Bristol.

:: November 28 - Ten people are charged in connection with the ill-treatment and neglect of residents at Winterbourne View.

:: December 8 - The CQC publishes the first of five reports from a programme of 150 unannounced inspections of hospitals and care homes that look after people with learning disabilities, warning many may be unsafe because they lack strong governance.

:: December 15 - The 10 members of staff appear at North Avon Magistrates' Court accused of ill-treating and neglecting patients at Winterbourne View. The case is committed to Bristol Crown Court.


:: January 19 - Support worker Neil Ferguson becomes the 11th former member of staff at Winterbourne View to be charged by police.

July 24 - Two managers at South Gloucestershire Council are dismissed as a result of events at Winterbourne View. Both managers were responsible for safeguarding vulnerable adults.

:: August 6: The final member of staff caught on camera abusing patients pleads guilty, bringing the total number due to be sentenced to 11 staff.

:: August 7 - A Serious Case Review is published which condemns Castlebeck, health regulators, local health services and police for failing to act on increasing warning signs of institutional abuse at the care home.

The 150-page report by independent expert Dr Margaret Flynn details hundreds of incidents of restraint and dozens of assaults on patients at the private hospital.

Castlebeck is accused of putting profits before basic humanity. The company vows that the abuse carried out at Winterbourne View will not be repeated at any of its other homes.

:: October 22 - A sentencing hearing begins at Bristol Crown Court. A judge is shown shocking footage recorded by Mr Casey.

:: October 26 - The 11 members of staff are sentenced by Judge Neil Ford QC, the Recorder of Bristol.

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