By ITV Wales Journalist Dean Thomas-Welch
Complaints made by families of severely disabled children in Swansea, about the conduct of senior nurses at Swansea Bay University Health Board, have been referred to South Wales Police.
A recent independent review into the conduct of managers within the Children’s Community Nursing Services (CCNS) found a number of serious failings which the health board described as “completely unacceptable”.
Now, families have exclusively told ITV Cymru Wales that they have been contacted by Swansea Bay University Health Board asking for permission for their files to be released to South Wales Police.
ITV News has seen an e-mail confirming the health board have passed on the review findings and minutes of meetings with families to officers for consideration.
It comes after those families blew the whistle to ITV News earlier this year claiming they were subjected to campaigns of harassment and bullying.
They alleged how senior nurses made anonymous and bogus claims to social services, wrongly withdrew care, made threats to remove children from their homes and even sent police to the door of one family for complaining of their treatment on social media.
Robert Channon from Swansea claimed management at the CCNS tried to "devastate their lives" after he and his wife complained of a lack of care for their disabled son Gethin.
This included allegations of a bogus referral made by senior nurses to social services claiming prescribed drugs had been misused by the family and police officers sent to their home after Robert complained on social media of poor care.
Robert says he welcomes the involvement of South Wales Police.
“This is the first Christmas in two years that we are not the ones fearing a knock at the door. It is a tremendous relief," he said.
"I am thankful to the Health Board for making the decision to refer the matter to South Wales Police. This was something we requested two weeks ago and we appreciate the courage it took for them to do it.
"They are making progress and this is the latest step.
"We have already spoken to South Wales Police and have expressed our determination to get justice."
Another family, who wish to remain anonymous, said:
“We are glad as we feel this should have happened years ago. It’s important more families come forward and we hope the police do not ignore what has happened to us.”
Last month ITV Cymru Wales exclusively revealed the outcome of an independent report into the CCNS team. The review found:
Families receiving care reported sanctions being imposed on them if they complained. This lead to a lack of trust in the CCNS and in some cases a total breakdown in relationship.
90% of families spoken to in the review complained of concerns that had not been addressed properly.
The review discovered complaints about professional practice within the service.
Staff within CCNS reported feeling demoralised and frustrated with their workloads.
Decisions by CCNS management were made outside Welsh Government guidance.
In a statement Swansea Bay University Health Board said: "Neither the health board nor the external reviewers are aware of any issues of criminality.
"However, in the interests of openness and transparency, a copy of the executive summary of the report has been shared with South Wales Police for them to review."
South Wales Police has confirmed that it has received a copy of the Executive Summary of the review into Swansea Bay University Health Board’s Children Community Nursing Services team.
They say an initial assessment of that Executive Summary is being undertaken to determine if there is any potential criminality.