Vulnerable patients are to be moved from NHS-funded private hospitals over the next 18 months in the wake of the Winterbourne View abuse scandal, the Government said yesterday.

Ministers warned tougher regulation, including possible new criminal laws to strengthen corporate accountability, could also be introduced.

Under the proposals, private companies would be stripped of the right to provide hospital care for patients with learning disabilities after the “devastating” scandal.

All patients in current placements will be reviewed by June next year, with a view to placing anyone being treated “inappropriately” in hospital into community-based support by the following summer.

There are currently 3,400 people in NHS-funded learning disability inpatient beds of which around 1,200 are in assessment and treatment units.

Other measures announced yesterday include a care plan must be in place for all children, young people and adults with learning disabilities by April 2014.