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Shocking scenes uncovered inside Britain's mental health service crisis

A shocking undercover investigation has laid bare appalling failures in patient care on Britain’s mental health wards.

Reporters from Channel 4’s Dispatches programme spent three months secretly filming at one of the UK’s biggest mental health trusts – Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust. 

The footage reveals horrifying abuses of vulnerable residents on two acute mental health wards. It includes patients being dragged across the floor, pinned down by staff, mocked while they are in distress and humiliated.

On one occasion, a patient who is at high risk of suicide and supposed to be under constant supervision is left unattended and makes an attempt on their own life. Another chaotic scene involves staff trying to locate a crucial bag of specialist cutting devices to save the life of a female patient who got hold of a ligature, after a carer failed to keep watch.

In one distressing example, a young woman being treated for anorexia – who is heard hyperventilating with fear – is dragged across the floor by her arms. When she is later discovered making a suicide attempt, she is pinned down by five carers for 40 minutes. As the woman lies sobbing on the floor, one of the staff members discusses the success of his latest diet. Another carer laughs as she marks the rhythm of the woman’s laboured breathing with her hands.

The damning footage raises fresh concerns about the state of treatment for the most mentally unwell in this country.

While the Essex Trust is just one of 54 across England, mental health professionals and families warn that such failures are widespread.

Former mental health nurse Julie Repper, director of imROC, an organisation that helps improve patients’ experiences in mental health services, describes events in the film as ‘literally abusive’.

"I asked the peer support workers we train about their experiences of the system, and they described seeing repeated ligaturing, people being dragged by their feet and being restrained. It’s ubiquitous".

"These units are supposed to keep people safe, but this film shows they’re not. Everybody has a stake in seeing this improve, because every single one of us may become overwhelmed at some point and find we hit a crisis."

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Source: MailOnline, 10 October 2022


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