New admissions to Muckamore hospital 'effectively stopped'
NEW admissions to a Co Antrim hospital at the centre of an abuse probe have effectively stopped.
The Belfast health trust yesterday confirmed the move at Muckamore Abbey Hospital, which cares for adults with severe learning disabilities.
"The trust has taken steps to cease or significantly restrict unplanned admissions to Muckamore Abbey Hospital," a spokeswoman said.
"Where an admission is considered unavoidable systems will be in place to ensure all alternative options are fully explored.
"This decision will be kept under continuous review ."
More than a dozen staff have been suspended from Muckamore, which is being investigated by police and the NHS following allegations of patients being abused.
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Three nurses, who are among the suspended staff, have been suspended from working in the health service for the next 18 months.
It is understood the scale of the interim suspensions relating to one hospital in such a short timeframe is unprecedented in Northern Ireland.
The Irish News has reported on allegations of serious abuse at the hospital, with CCTV footage dating back more than a year apparently showing some staff striking vulnerable patients.
An independent `Level 3' Serious Adverse Incident (SAI) health service probe was triggered last year.
A police investigation is also ongoing, with more than 70 alleged “incidents of ill treatment” being examined and two files under consideration by the Public Prosecution Service.