A FORMER nursing manager at Muckamore Abbey has mounted a staunch defence of the staff at the beleaguered hospital.
The man, who worked at the Abbey for 30 years, has expressed concern that allegations against the few are having implications for them all.
“We’ve had the usual bland statement from the Trust, but I think people do not realise the impact a prolonged investigation of this kind has on all the staff - including the vast majority who have done absolutely nothing wrong,” he said.
“From the outset I would like to make it clear that I have absolutely no sympathy for any member of staff who abused a patient. I’ve sacked people myself.
“But much of the media coverage to date is painting a picture of violence being tolerated. That is not my experience.
“Yes, Muckamore Abbey can be a very challenging environment but I fear the intense scrutiny we have seen in recent days could have an adverse effect on patients.
“Staff will quite understandably be reluctant to lay hands on a patient, even if it’s for their own safety, in case it will be misconstrued.
“When you are dealing with patients who can be unpredictable and impulsive - people who can be a danger to themselves and others - it is sometimes necessary to use a level of physical restraint.
“Occasionally this can lead to an unseemly looking altercation. But these people need looked after, and sometimes that means protecting them from themselves.”
The man, who did not wish to be named, added that he has long held the belief that there is a ‘campaign’ to close Muckamore.
“If patients were assaulted it has given them a lot of ammunition. Can it survive? I think it’s doubtful. It certainly doesn’t make it any less likely.
“Back in the late 1960s there were more than 800 patients but since then it has gone down and down.
“Remember, though, even if it does close these patients still need and deserve care and the staff need support.
“This scandal sullies the whole reputation of Muckamore Abbey. By association, it even tarnishes those with an exemplary record. That saddens me greatly.
“I’ve no sympathy for anyone who would deliberately hurt a vulnerable patient. They’ve let themselves and their colleagues down.
“But I do feel sorry for the huge number of people who never put a foot wrong.”
* Full reports this week