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Corporate owners of private hospitals face tests.


Corporate hospital owners who deal with NHS patients will have to undergo checks to determine whether they are “fit and proper” persons.

Reforms suggested would also look at how corporate bodies, boards of directors and financiers can be held to account for poor care and harm. 

The reforms, due out in spring, come after the Winterbourne View hospital scandal in which the BBC Panorama programme uncovered wide spread abuse of mentally disabled patients. Patients were doused in cold water, slapped and constantly taunted and teased.

The aim of the reforms is to get almost 800 patients suffering from autism and learning difficulties in similar hospitals into more suitable care facilities. Norman Lamb the health minister stated facilities such as Winterbourne View were intended as short-stay units however many individuals suffering from learning difficulties had been residents for years.

Winterbourne View was owned by Castlebeck and this in turn is owned by Lydian Capital Partners; an investment fund based in Geneva. The official serious case review said the company’s appreciation of events was limited. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services said that Castlebeck was “charging extremely high fees to public agencies … and then completely failing to deliver on the promises made”.

As part of the new reforms the Department of Health would ensure that board directors and financiers could not take “financial rewards without any apparent accountability” this would be enforced by both regulatory and criminal sanctions.