MP calls for resignation over care home scandal
AN MP has called for a senior council officer to resign over the Winterbourne View scandal.
Writing in the Post, Jack Lopresti said Peter Murphy, who is the director of community care at South Gloucestershire Council, should "seriously consider his position".
An undercover BBC documentary filmed abuse of people living at the care home, near Bradley Stoke, last year.
Eleven ex-staff members have admitted offences against patients, and last month, an independent serious case review called for fundamental changes to the way care for vulnerable adults is run. It also revealed a string of alerts were raised but only a handful of them were passed on to the Department of Health.
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Mr Lopresti, the Conservative MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke, said: "It is a disgrace that around 40 alerts were sent to the council to highlight problems at Winterbourne View in the years leading up to the Panorama investigation, which weren't acted on."
He said two council officers had already been dismissed, but said: "It seems to me that a structural failure on this scale should not be able to happen solely due to the actions of two mid-ranking members of staff.
"I still have concerns that senior officers at SGC have not taken responsibility for this catastrophic failure, and feel that Peter Murphy, who is both the Director of Community Care in South Gloucestershire and the head of the South Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board, should seriously consider his position.
"I feel that the buck has to stop with him, and we have yet to hear a reasonable explanation as to why his department could not prevent a failure of this magnitude."
Mr Lopresti's comments came as MPs at Westminster debated the care of people with mental disabilities.
Labour MP Tom Clarke listed the "harrowing" examples of abuse.
Mr Clarke said operator Castlebeck Care Ltd charged the public purse an average of £3,500 per patient per week, adding: "For that amount of money, a person could stay in the Ritz hotel."
In a statement responding to Mr Lopresti's comments, South Glouc- estershire Council said: "Following the Panorama programme the council took immediate action to appoint an independent expert to carry out a Serious Case Review into the events at Winterbourne View Hospital.
"The review made clear that the shortcomings in relation to adult safeguarding at Winterbourne View Hospital took place across a range of agencies, including the council. It also acknowledged that Winterbourne View Hospital was an isolated incident within South Gloucestershire, and that the council's adult safeguarding service is otherwise sound.
"The challenge now is to ensure that the recommendations in the Serious Case Review are implemented as a matter of urgency by all agencies.
"In recent weeks the council published a detailed action plan setting out the steps that it will take to ensure that the shocking events seen at Winterbourne View Hospital will never happen again in South Gloucestershire."