Muckamore Abbey Hospital staff excluded from work while police investigate allegations of abuse
FOUR members of staff at a Co Antrim hospital have been suspended following allegations of abuse against vulnerable patients.
A police probe is also underway after concerns were raised about Muckamore Abbey hospital, an inpatient facility which treats mentally ill adults and those with an intellectual disability from across Northern Ireland.
The investigation has been going on for several months and relates to a number of wards. It is understood there may be CCTV footage relating to the allegations.
Families of patients affected have been informed and additional specialist staff have been deployed.
A spokeswoman for the Belfast health trust, which is responsible for the hospital, said: "Following concerns identified in relation to the conduct of a small number of staff in Muckamore Abbey Hospital, (we) have placed four members of staff on precautionary exclusion from work while a full internal investigation is undertaken. The trust is also undertaking an adult safeguarding investigation with the PSNI.
"The trust has introduced additional measures and is assured of the ongoing safety and care of the community of patients in the hospital. We are unable to discuss this matter any further due to the ongoing investigation."
Detective chief inspector Tracey Mageean confirmed that police were jointly working with the trust "regarding a number of allegations into ill treatment of patients".
"This is a live investigation and it would be inappropriate to comment any further. The safeguarding of any vulnerable victim is a priority for the Police Service of Northern Ireland," she added.