AN INVESTIGATION has been launched into allegations of physical and psychological abuse at a County Durham care home looking after people with complex needs.

Durham Police has confirmed it is investigating the allegations of abuse at Whorlton Hall, in Whorlton, near Barnard Castle.

The 17-bed home provides a specialist high dependency complex care service for adults with learning disabilities and complex needs.

A number of staff have been suspended at the facility while the investigation is taking place.

The facility, is run by Cygnet Health Care, which acquired it from private health care provider Danshell Group in 2018.

A Durham Police spokesman said: “Durham Constabulary can confirm that, this week, they have launched a criminal investigation regarding concerns raised about alleged physical and psychological abuse by staff at Whorlton Hall, near Barnard Castle.

“The police are working closely with partner agencies.”

In a statement, a Cygnet Health care spokesperson said: “We acquired the Danshell Group a few months ago and allegations have been made against members of staff at one of the Group’s hospitals, Whorlton Hall, regarding their treatment of service users earlier this year.

“We take these allegations extremely seriously. All members of staff who have been specifically mentioned have been suspended."

The home was rated as "good" when it was inspected by the Care Quality Commission in 2017.

In March 2018 a further inspection took place, when the rating was not changed, though several issues were highlighted as needing improvement. 

The watchdog says it is currently considering information about Whorlton Hall which may lead it to carry out an inspection.