People ‘ridden like horses’ at ‘shocking’ care home, report reveals

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 February 2018

Mendip House report.

Mendip House report.

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Autistic residents staying at a care home were subjected to abuse, cruelty and bullying at the hands of the people who were meant to be caring for them, a report has revealed.

An in-depth investigation carried out on a National Autistic Society (NAS) care home has uncovered the disrespectful way 20 residents were treated.

Staff at Mendip House, a care home for people with autism and complex needs in Brent Knoll, taunted people, threw items such as cake at residents and ‘put ribbon round resident’s neck and rode him like a horse’.

Wells MP James Heappey said what went on behind closed doors was ‘awful’.

The home closed in November 2016 after allegations of mistreatment and abuse of some residents.

The allegations were made by two whistle-blowers to Somerset County Council’s safeguarding team in May 2016.

As a result the council’s Adult Social Care service set up and funded an emergency team which reviewed the home.

The report, which was released this week, revealed that a ‘gang of controlling male staff’ dominated Mendip House with their ‘laddish’ behaviour who regularly worked the same shifts together.

Allegations included one male staff member ‘not being bothered’ to take out a resident because he was playing on the PlayStation, which was meant to be for the residents to enjoy using.

There was also a report of staff being ‘unaware’ a female resident had absconded as well as reports of ‘bullying’ and ‘disrespectful’ behaviour.

The review found the NAS was ‘primarily responsible and accountable’ for the behaviour and mistreatment the residents’ faced.

Mr Heappey, whose parliamentary constituency includes Burnham and Highbridge, said what happened at Mendip House can never be allowed to take place again.

He said: “I knew some of the awful things which happened at Mendip House as I was asked to help two of the residents at the time.

“Even so, it is alarming to see the scale of abuse and I am glad the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board have been so robust in their findings.

“What happened at Mendip House is reprehensible.

“The NAS have accepted what happened at Mendip House was unacceptable but there are lessons which need to be learned outside the NAS too.

“Mendip House is a shocking failure by the NAS and the local authorities who had sent vulnerable adults to be cared for at the centre.”

To read the full report, click here.

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