November 24, 2000 10:09: The health trust which was heavily criticised for failing to prevent the abuse of vulnerable Alzheimer patients at Tolworth Hospital is being wound up and the hospital is already functioning under new management.

Kingston and District Community NHS Trust (KDCT), whose management was blamed in an internal inquiry into abuse on Fuchsias Ward, has already ceded most of its mental health responsibilities to South West London and St Georges Mental Health NHS Trust (SWL&SG).

It is not yet clear which members of management team will be staying on under the trust but chief executive Fred Little is being replaced by Duncan Selbie, chief executive of SWL&SG.

A spokesman for health watchdog, Kingston Community Health Council, said: This is very good news as SWL&SG has an excellent reputation. We have every faith in them.

An internal inquiry at the start of the year into the abuse of frail and dying Alzheimer patients by nurses found that KDCTs own senior managers presided over a seriously flawed, deteriorating and potentially dangerous culture of care at the hospital.

But, health chiefs insist that the changes in mental health care management in Kingston are being driven by the governments policy of having a smaller number of larger trusts to allow economies of scale, rather than a response to the problems of KDCT.

Kingstons new Primary Care Trust, due to take over from the current

Primary Care Group next year, is

expected to take over the lions share of responsibility for KDCTs other services such as community nursing and general elderly services.