Ely Hospital: Hidden Now Heard

Ely Hospital was an old Victorian Workhouse. Workhouses were for orphans, the poor, people with mental ill health and those with learning disabilities. Gradually Ely Hospital cared only for those with mental ill health or learning disabilities. It was exclusively a learning disability hospital by the mid 1960s. In 1969 the Ely Report uncovered cases of mistreatment and abuse by hospital staff. This raised public awareness, and attitudes turned to supporting hospital closures. As a result, many former staff feel ashamed about their connection. “I remember, even in the 1980s some staff would get off the bus a few stops from the hospital because they didn’t want people to know they worked there” – Linda Williams, student Nurse at Ely in the 1980s. There were some serious incidents of abuse at the hospital. It seems likely that some of the practices were not unique to Ely. It is often suggested that Ely’s problems arose from staff being trained mental health nurses rather than learning disability nurses. This collection will expose different voices, stories and viewpoints. We hope it will make you think about how far we have come and how far we still have to go.

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