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Ministers order ‘rapid review’ into mental health inpatient care in England

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Ministers have ordered an inquiry into the quality of care in mental health inpatient units in England after a series of scandals in which vulnerable patients were abused or neglected.

Maria Caulfield, the mental health minister, announced the establishment of a “rapid review” in a written ministerial statement in the House of Commons on Monday.

The inquiry “is an essential first step in improving safety in mental health inpatient settings”, she said. In recent years, coroners and the Care Quality Commission, the NHS care watchdog, have repeatedly raised concerns about dangerously inadequate care that inpatients have received.

It will examine the evidence of “patient safety risks and failures in care” in units that hold and treat patients who have serious conditions including psychosis and personality disorder. It will look in particular at evidence of failings brought forward by patients and their families and how better use of data can help show that care has fallen below acceptable levels.

The inquiry will be headed by Dr Geraldine Strathdee, a psychiatrist who used to be NHS England’s national clinical director for mental health. She is likely to look at problems including patients being subjected to controversial restraint techniques, left at risk of being able to take their own lives and segregated from fellow inpatients, and the impact of their experiences on their recovery.

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Source: The Guardian, 23 January 2023

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