NCA assisting PSNI with probe of patient abuse

Muckamore Abbey Hospital. Image from Google StreetView
Muckamore Abbey Hospital. Image from Google StreetView

The National Crime Agency has confirmed it is “assisting” the PSNI with an investigation into a specialist psychiatric unit in Co Antrim after video footage emerged in July of patients being mistreated.

Th National Crime Agency, which has been likened to a British FBI, provides specialist capabilities such as offender profiling and serious crime analysis to support police and law enforcement partners.

The organisation confirmed it is “assisting” the PSNI with its investigation into the abuse of vulnerable adults at Muckamore Abbey hospital but stressed that it was not leading the probe.

The PSNI confirmed over 100 had been reported.

Detective Chief Inspector Jill Duffie said: “As of Saturday, 1 December there have been 132 incidents reported to police. We continue to work through every one of those reports to see where there have been criminal offences committed.”

An investigation has been ongoing into Muckamore Abbey, which provides care to adults with intellectual disabilites, behavioural or mental health problems, since September last year following reports of what the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust described as “inappropriate behaviour and alleged physical abuse of patients by staff in two wards.”

In July, after the emergence of CCTV images showing patients being mistreated, the Belfast Trust confirmed that more staff had been suspended, bringing the number of suspensions to 13.

In September, senior Trust staff met with families to discuss the draft findings of areview of ‘safeguarding’ at the hospital that had been carried out in tandem with police. After the meeting, a spokesperson for the Trust said: “We are truly sorry that we have let our patients and their families down.”