Apology at last over brutality at Doncaster care centre

James Hinds at Sheffield Crown Court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
James Hinds at Sheffield Crown Court. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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A Serious Case Review into what went wrong at a Yorkshire care centre where severely disabled patients were slapped and mistreated has found different agencies “should have worked together better”.

Doncaster Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board (DSAPB) published an independent report into abuse at the Solar Centre perpetrated by care assistants James Hinds and Susan Murphy between 2005 and 2007.

Susan Murphy and James Hinds.

Susan Murphy and James Hinds.

The couple were handed jail sentences of two years and nine months at Sheffield Crown Court last year.

They were convicted of ill-treating 12 different outpatients between them and the judge said it was “impossible to assess the upset, distress and bewilderment” they caused.

A report commissioned by DSAPB and written by Gill Poole reviewed what happened at the centre run by Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust.

Roger Thompson, independent chair of the DSAPB, said the report highlighted that agencies should have worked quicker and better together.

He said: “First of all and most importantly, I would like to sincerely apologise on behalf of the Doncaster Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board to the victims and families in this case for the amount of time it has taken to reach this point and for this report to be concluded.

“There are lessons to be learned from this case and agencies should have worked better together at the time.

“It will be little comfort to those victims and families to hear that in Doncaster, things have changed for the better since this case and we do work more effectively together and have people at the heart of what we do especially in safeguarding. I do want to stress that.

“That said, the report does recognise that agencies could have done things more expediently and in a more coordinated way.

“The independent author has made recommendations and we will ensure they are actioned.”

The report makes nine recommendations, one of which was apologising to the families of victims for the length of time it had taken to conclude.