Panorama: Undercover Care

Sunday 29 January 2.00pm
City Universtiy London
UK 2011
Directors: Matthew Chapman
Producers: Paul Kenyon
Language: English

On the top floor of a special hospital, locked away from their families and friends, a group of men and women are subjected to a regime of physical assaults, systematic brutality, and torture by the very people supposed to be caring for them.

The victims are some of the most vulnerable in society - the learning disabled and the autistic, some of them suicidal. Reporter Paul Kenyon exposes the truth about a gang of carers out of control, and how the home ignored all the warning signs.

They're the successors to the Victorian asylums, the state of the art independent hospitals which were supposed to end the culture of abuse. Panorama sent in an undercover journalist to work in one. What he filmed has already led to more than a dozen carers being suspended and some of the victims being moved out. It includes a carer goading a patient with a mental age of an infant to commit suicide, carers assaulting patients and using martial arts techniques against them. One patient was soaked in water and then left outside in the winter.

The author of the government's policy concerning this kind of patient, Professor Jim Mansell, who's seen some of the footage says: "This is the worst kind of institutional care. It's the kind of thing that was prevalent at the end of the sixties and that led Britain to gradually close the large long-stay institutions. The staff don't think that these are human beings, otherwise they wouldn't be able to do what they're doing."

One experienced nurse tried to report abuse at the hospital several months ago, but nothing was done. It was at that point he came to Panorama. The hospital involved, owned by Castlebeck of the leading learning disabilities care companies in the UK issued a statement to BBC Panorama.

The programme raises questions about the regulation of carers in similar institutions across the UK and includes interviews with the families of two patients who were the main targets of abuse.


Followed by Q&A with Terry Bryan, the Winterbourne View whistleblower and Joe Plomin who worked on the BBC Panorama programme. Eileen Chubb will also be on the panel, Eileen was a member of the 'Bupa 7' group of whistleblowers, who spoke out against the abuse they had witnessed in Bupa care homes. She speaks widely on the issue of abuse and works closely with the media to expose abuse and raise awareness.


The CIJ London Investigative Film Festival 2015 will be held at:

University of Westminster, 4-12 Little Titchfield Street, London W1W 7BY

Nearest tube: Oxford Circus and Googde Street.

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