By David Young, Press Association
Four staff members at a residential facility for vulnerable adults have been excluded from work amid a police investigation into concerns about their conduct.
Muckamore Abbey Hospital in Antrim provides care for adults with an intellectual disability and those with behavioural or mental ill health.
It is understood a probe involving the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, which manages Muckamore, and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has been ongoing for a number of months.
The concerns about staff apparently relate to a small number of patients. All patients' families have been informed of developments.
A statement from the health trust said: "Following concerns identified in relation to the conduct of a small number of staff in Muckamore Abbey Hospital, Belfast Trust has 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."
PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Tracey Mageean said: "We can confirm that we are working with Belfast Health and Social Care Trust regarding a number of allegations into ill treatment of patients at a hospital facility in Antrim. 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."