THREE nurses have been suspended while an investigation into alleged abuse at a private hospital in County Durham continues.

The 18-month interim suspension orders were made in respect of three registered nurses, following allegations of abuse at Whorlton Hall, in Whorlton, near Barnard Castle, which came to light in May.

The hospital, run by Cygnet Health Care, which provided care for adults with learning disabilities and autism, closed after the alleged physical and psychological abuse of patients was broadcast by the BBC's Panorama programme.

The Northern Echo:

Matthew McClelland, director of fitness to practice for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said: “Following the appalling abuse captured at Whorlton Hall in the Panorama programme, an independent panel has placed interim suspension orders on three nurses.

"We applied for these orders to keep people who use health and care services, and their families, safe.

“We remain in contact with the care provider and with the police as part of their criminal inquiry, as we continue with our regulatory investigation.”

A police investigation was launched in May, when 16 members of staff at the NHS-funded hospital were suspended.

Ten people from the Barnard Castle, Bishop Auckland, Darlington and Stockton areas were arrested.

No charges have been made.