IN 2011, when the BBC exposed serious mistreatment of patients at Winterbourne View care home, near Bristol, the situation, quite rightly, turned into a national scandal which led to a commitment from then-Prime Minister David Cameron that such abuse would never happen again.

Eight years later, the care sector is once again in the spotlight thanks to more undercover work by the team from Panorama, this time in the heart of County Durham.

While there is a police investigation ongoing into Whorlton Hall, it is not for us to single out individual staff members, but the evidence provided so far by Panorama is shocking, to put it mildly.

As part of the BBC’s wider investigation, it obtained figures under the Freedom of Information Act showing that in the two years to 2018 the number of physical restraints in specialist hospitals like Whorlton Hall almost doubled to more than 21,000.

This is despite industry guidelines say the focus should be on preventative measures, and when restraint is used, it should be for the shortest time possible, and only to prevent a patient harming themselves or others.

Cygnet, which runs Whorlton Hall, says it has taken swift action, including transferring patients elsewhere, and closing down the hospital. It is easy to be wise in hindsight though, and the questions now are why did it take journalists to expose these allegations?

The Care Quality Commission, and Cygnet, must now explain why it did not bring to light these claims themselves.