Police uncover 1,500 crimes in CCTV footage from ONE ward at Muckamore Abbey Hospital psychiatric unit where 20 staff are suspended
- Crimes included repeated physical abuse of patients over a six-month period
- Police probing dozens of allegations of abuse at the hospital in County Antrim
- Twenty staff, mainly nurses, suspended from unit in Northern Ireland since 2017
- Police described it as ‘largest adult safeguarding case’ of its kind in the country
CCTV has revealed more than 1,500 crimes were committed by staff on one ward at a scandal-hit psychiatric unit in Northern Ireland.
The incidents, which include the ‘repeated physical abuse of patients’, took place over a six-month period in 2017-18 at the Muckamore Abbey Hospital in County Antrim.
Police are probing allegations of prolonged abuse of vulnerable patients in what is being called the ‘largest adult safeguarding case’ of its kind in the country.
More than 1,500 crimes were committed on one ward at the Muckamore Abbey Hospital over a six-month period, including repeated physical abuse on patients
Twenty staff, mainly nurses, have been suspended from Muckamore since 2017.
The hospital provides treatment for people with severe learning disabilities and mental health problems.
In August 2018 there had been 53 assaults on patients by staff reported at the hospital, BBC News NI reported.
Only five of those incidents were investigated and substantiated, according to the news website.
Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster’s Good Morning Ulster programme, Det Ch Insp Jill Duffie said police were examining a series of ‘very traumatic events’ seen in more than 300,000 hours of footage.
She said: ‘Over the period of six months we are looking at a pattern of very traumatic events.
‘We have seen the repeated pattern of physical and mental abuse of the patients contained within that ward.
‘These patients would not normally have been able to tell anyone what was happening to them and that is why it is so crucial in this case that we have the CCTV evidence.’
Twenty staff, mainly nurses, have been suspended from Muckamore (shown) since 2017
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said it had been in ‘regular contact’ with the families affected.
Earlier this month, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) issued the Belfast Health Trust with formal notices over care standards at the hospital.
Three enforcement notices were issued about staffing and nurse provision, adult safeguarding and patient finances.
The RQIA said it had been working with the trust since February and had escalated its response to enforcement action because it felt it had no other choice, according to the BBC.
The Belfast Health Trust acknowledged the improvement notices and said, alongside sister organisations across health and social care, it was trying to develop a model of care ‘which is receptive to the changing needs of patients’.