Minister asks for information on abuse scandal


A Liberal Democrat minister is to investigate why the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has refused to prosecute any of the NHS staff accused of abusing 18 disabled people at a day centre.

The CPS decided two weeks ago – for the second time – not to bring any charges over the alleged abuse at the Solar Centre in Doncaster.

An internal NHS investigation, which reported in 2008, found evidence of 44 incidents between 2005 and 2007, involving abuse of 18 people with learning difficulties and high support needs.

The report by the trust which runs the day centre, Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH), makes it clear that nine members of staff claimed they witnessed abuse.

And Disability News Service (DNS) has seen safeguarding reports into the abuse of two of the service-users, which appear to show there is clear evidence against three former members of staff.

Last week, the CPS agreed to re-examine its decision not to proceed with any charges, after DNS questioned why no charges were possible when RDaSH appears to have taken at least nine witness statements describing ill-treatment.

Now the care services minister, Paul Burstow, has asked officials at the Department of Health to look into the case, after DNS brought it to his attention at the Liberal Democrat party conference.

Burstow said: “I appreciate why people are concerned about this particular case, which is why I have asked officials to look into this and report back to me.”

A CPS spokeswoman said they were still “conducting a review”. But she said that Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions and head of the CPS, was now being kept informed of progress on the case.

29 September 2011