1999 Scandal of Ashworth Special Hospital

1999 saw the publication of a further enquiry into Ashworth Hospital.

This time it was alleged that the so-called personality disorder unit, which specialised in the management of sex offenders, was out of control and was allowing visiting children to be groomed by patients on the ward.

The enquiry team led by Judge Fallon was asked to investigate into the unit but decided to extend their enquiry into the whole hospital. They were critical of the Blom-Cooper Report saying that insufficient attention was now given to security.

Staff both in the hospital and previous managers who had long since left the hospital were roundly condemned.

The psychotherapist in charge of the unit in question lost his job and other members of staff were referred first to the Department of Health for disciplinary proceedings and the medical staff were then referred to the General Medical Council for potential erasure from the register.

Neither the Department of Health nor the GMC proceeded with discipline or sanctions after the first preliminary enquiries and the report remains one of the most contentious in the history of NHS public enquiries.

The personality disorder unit was closed.

The enquiry further suggested that an independent review of all aspects of physical security at Ashworth Hospital should take place and be repeated at regular intervals.


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