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Found 142 results
  1. News Article
    Imagine being on your period and "forced to beg for pads and tampons". According to 24-year-old Lara, that's common for her and others on mental health hospital wards in the UK. When she posted about her experience online, people from across the country responded with their own similar stories. Mental health hospitals have various rules in place for safety reasons, including access to certain items. However, NHS guidance states that period products should be available to anyone who needs them. Lara says this hasn't always been the case for her. "I've had a number of hospital admissions to psychiatric units and on one of my first they confiscated my period products," she says. Lara's currently on one-to-one observations for her own safety, which means someone has to escort her to the toilet and watch her change a pad or tampon. But she says her worst experience was when she's had to wear anti-ligature clothing - again for safety reasons. "I was forced to remove my pants and sanitary pad - which meant I just had to bleed into the clothing," she says. "I understand the need for safety to come first, but this experience was unhygienic, traumatising and embarrassing for people to see." Eleanor is 20 years old and recently spent time in a mental health hospital. At her "most unwell", she says she didn't have access to her own clothing and had to wear the same special clothing Lara spoke about. "I'd have two or three people watching me changing and even though I know it's for my own safety, it's dehumanising," she says. Newsbeat asked a number of unions, organisations and charities to comment on the experiences described but none wanted to provide one. But one mental health professional, Kasper, did agree to discuss it. Kasper agrees that safety is always a top priority but adequate period provision is often overlooked."I'm sure all trusts have a policy, but don't think it's always applied - and my observation is that it very much depends on what staff are on shift, especially when there can be lots of agency workers," Kasper says."We do keep products on my ward, but there's not much of a range. "Patients can't access them and some staff don't know where they are either - so the onus is very much on patients, which can be tricky when they're unwell." Read full story Source: BBC News, 16 October 2023
  2. News Article
    The UK’s largest mental health charity, Mind, has published previously unseen data laying bare the full scale of the emergency in mental healthcare, with staff reporting 17,340 serious incidents in 12 months. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) figures shows mental healthcare staff across England reported an incident two times every hour in the last year, where people are treated for issues including self-harm, eating disorders and psychosis. Incidents included: injuries to patients that caused likely long term sensory, movement or brain damage, or physically damaged their body prolonged physical pain or psychological harm, or shortened life expectancy cases of abuse, including those involving the police injuries for which the patient needed treatment to prevent them dying. All of these incidents involved care providers raising concerns with the CQC under their statutory duty under Regulation 18. Dr Sarah Hughes, Chief Executive of Mind, says: “It is deeply worrying that healthcare staff across the country are so concerned about the situation in mental health settings that they are reporting a serious incident once every half an hour. We knew this was a crisis – now we know the scale of this crisis. People seek mental healthcare to get well, not to endure harm. Families are being let down by a system that’s supposed to protect their loved ones when they are most sick. The consequences can be and have been fatal". Read full story Source: Mind, 10 October 2023
  3. News Article
    At least two trusts are set to fall short on a high-profile pledge to eradicate ‘dormitory’ style wards in mental health facilities, with delays caused by cost pressures and shortage of materials and labour. In 2020, ministers said more than 1,200 beds in mental health dormitories across more than 50 sites would be replaced with single, en-suite accommodation by March 2025. Around £400m was allocated to achieve this. However, information gathered by HSJ via freedom of information requests suggests there will be at least 37 dormitory beds still in use beyond that date. In 2018, the Care Quality Commission said: “In the 21st century, patients, many of whom have not agreed to admission, should not be expected to share sleeping accommodation with strangers, some of whom may be agitated”. Patients have told HSJ they felt “distressed”, “unsafe” and “intimidated” on dormitory style wards. Leaders of trusts impacted by delays told HSJ of rising cost pressures, shortages of construction materials and availability of labour. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 17 October 2023
  4. News Article
    High use of agency staff contributed to the care failings exposed at a mental health trust by undercover reporters, an internal inquiry has found. Essex Partnership University Trust was at the centre of a Channel 4 documentary last year which raised concerns over care, including the use of restraints and patient observations. The trust initially refused to release the final report after a freedom of information request by HSJ, but has now released a redacted version on appeal. The report identified a number of concerns in relation to patient and staff safety, saying factors that contributed to these concerns included high usage of temporary staff and high patient acuity on the two acute mental health wards recorded. The internal inquiry looked into allegations of the inappropriate use of restraints raised in the documentary. This section, which contained redactions, found restraint was taught to be used as a last resort, but suggested high temporary staffing levels and a “lack of confident and adequately skilled staff” contributed to guidance not being followed. Another concern was around staff sleeping on duty and the use of mobile phones during patient observations. The internal inquiry found there was an “absence of visible leadership and role modelling” to ensure this did not happen during clinical practice. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 17 October 2023
  5. News Article
    The death of a mentally ill teenager who died after drinking an excessive amount of water was preventable, an investigation has found. The 18-year-old, known at Mr D, was being detained under the Mental Health Act at the time of his death. An inquiry by the Mental Welfare Commission said he had previously been treated for drinking too much water. It found several areas where a different course of action could have prevented his death. The teenager was admitted out-of-hours to an adult mental health service (AMHS) inpatient unit in a health board neighbouring his own on 5 December 2018 as there were no local beds available. This move was described in the report as a "high-risk action". On the evening of 7 December he suffered a seizure after drinking too much water and was transferred to intensive care. He died three days later from the consequences of water intoxication. Suzanne McGuinness, executive director (social work) at the Mental Welfare Commission, said: "This was a tragic death of a young man while he was being cared for in hospital. "We found that a more assertive approach to the treatment of Mr D's psychotic illness in the two years before his death was warranted. The risks associated with psychotic illness were not coherently managed." Read full story Source: BBC News, 21 September 2023
  6. Content Article
    Patients in seclusion in mental health services require regular physical health assessments to identify, prevent and manage clinical deterioration. Sometimes it may be unsafe or counter-therapeutic for clinical staff to enter the seclusion room, making it challenging to meet local seclusion standards for physical assessments. Alternatives to standard clinical assessment models are required in such circumstances to assure high quality and safe care. The primary aim of this study was to improve the quality of physical health monitoring by making accurate vital sign measurements more frequently available. It also aimed to explore the clinical experience of integrating a technological innovation with routine clinical care. The results showed that the non-contact monitoring device enabled a 12 fold increase overall in the monitoring of physical health observations when compared to a real-world baseline rate of checks. Enhancement to standard clinical care varied according to patient movement levels. Patients, carers and staff expressed positive views towards the integration of the technological intervention.
  7. Content Article
    Preventing patients from self-harming is an ongoing challenge in acute inpatient mental health settings. New technologies that do not require continuous human visual monitoring and that maintain patient privacy may support staff in managing patient safety and intervening proactively to prevent self-harm incidents. This study in the Journal of Mental Health aimed to assess the effect of implementing a contact-free vision-based patient monitoring and management (VBPMM) system on the rate of bedroom self-harm incidents. The results showed a 44% reduction in bedroom self-harm incidents and a 48% reduction in bedroom ligatures incidents, suggesting that that the VBPMM system helped staff to reduce self-harm incidents, including ligatures, in bedrooms.
  8. Content Article
    Despite the prevalence of diabetes amongst individuals with Serious Mental Illness (SMI), diabetes care is not currently audited within mental health inpatient settings as it audited in physical health settings. This project piloted an audit to assess the diabetes care within London NHS Mental Health Trusts. The Health Innovation Network in partnership with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) developed and piloted a diabetes audit. Following the SLaM pilot, the audit was completed by all nine London Mental Health Trusts. A diverse approach was taken to spread and adoption. This included piloting the audit within one MH Trust, refining, and then rolling out the audit to eight London Mental Health Trusts.
  9. Content Article
    In this video, Chris tells his story of how he dealt with a traumatic childhood and subsequent diagnosis of schizophrenia. He talks about the medication and therapy that have helped him. Warning: The film does contain references to distressing themes.
  10. Event
    This national conference looks at the practicalities of Serious Incident Investigation and Learning from Deaths in Mental Health Services and implementation of the New Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF previously known as the Serious Incident Framework). The Patient Safety Incident Response Framework (PSIRF) was published on 16th August 2022 and replaces the Serious incident Framework. The conference will also update delegates on best current practice in serious incident investigation and learning, including mortality governance and learning from deaths. There will be an extended focus on ensuring serious investigation findings lead to change and improvement, and updates from PSIRF early adopter sites in mental health. The conference will also examine how the new framework will fit with the Royal College of Psychiatrists Care Review Tool for mortality review. For further information and to book your place visit https://www.healthcareconferencesuk.co.uk/conferences-masterclasses/investigation-of-deaths-serious-incidents-in-mental-health-services or email kate@hc-uk.org.uk hub members receive 20% off. Email info@pslhub.org for discount code. Follow this conference on Twitter @HCUK_Clare #SIMental
  11. News Article
    The government’s national review of mental health hospitals must urgently address the “lack of sympathy and compassion” towards patients if safety is to improve, the health ombudsman has said. Rob Berhens said the investigation, prompted by The Independent’s reporting on deaths and abuse of vulnerable patients, must look at three key issues, including a lack of empathy for those with mental health challenges, a lack of resources and poor working conditions for staff. Health Secretary Steve Barclay announced last week that a new safety body, the Health Services Safety Investigations Body (HSIB), would look into the care of young people, examine staffing levels and scrutinise the quality of care within mental health units. Mr Berhens said: “I trust [HSIB] to be able to understand what are the key issues, they’re about the lack of sympathy and compassion for people who have mental health challenges, which to me is a human rights issue." Read full story Source: The Independent, 1 July 2023
  12. Content Article
    On the 23 January 2023 the Minister for Mental Health and Women’s Health Strategy, Maria Caulfield MP, announced the commencement of a rapid review into patient safety in mental health inpatient settings in England. The review Chair, Dr Geraldine Strathdee, was asked to consider how improvements could be made to the way that data and information is used in relation to patient safety in mental health inpatient care settings and pathways, including for people with a learning disability and autistic people. This report contains the findings of this review and an associated set of recommendations.
  13. Content Article
    This is the transcript of an oral statement to the House of Commons by Steve Barclay MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on improving safety in mental health in-patient services across England.
  14. News Article
    Today it was announced by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care that the future Health Services Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB) will undertake a series of investigations focused on mental health inpatient settings. The investigations will commence when HSSIB is formally established on 1 October 2023. The HSSIB will conduct investigations around: How providers learn from deaths in their care and use that learning to improve their services, including post-discharge. How young people with mental health needs are cared for in inpatient services and how their care could be improved. How out-of-area placements are handled. How to develop a safe, therapeutic staffing model for all mental health inpatient services. Rosie Benneyworth, Chief Investigator at HSIB, says: “We welcome the announcement by the Secretary of State and see this as a significant opportunity to use our expertise, and the wider remit that HSSIB will have, to improve safety for those being cared for in mental health inpatient settings across England. The evidence we have gathered through HSIB investigations has helped shed light on some of the wider challenges faced by patients with mental health needs, and the expertise we will carry through from HSIB to HSSIB will help us to further understand these concerns in inpatient settings, and contribute to a system level understanding of the challenges in providing care in mental health hospitals. “HSSIB will be able to look at inpatient mental health care in both the NHS and the independent sector and any evidence we gather during the investigations is given full protection from disclosure. It is crucial that those impacted by poor care and those working on the frontlines of the inpatient settings can share their experiences, reassured that HSSIB will use this information to improve care and not apportion blame or liability. “At HSIB we will begin conversations with our national partners across the system, as well as talking to staff, patients and families. This will ensure that when investigations are launched in October, we have identified and will address the most serious risks to mental health inpatients within these areas and will identify recommendations and other safety learning that will lead to changes in the safety culture and how safety is managed within mental health services.” Read full story Source: HSIB, 28 June 2023
  15. News Article
    The government is being urged to launch a public inquiry into "systemic failings" at mental health hospitals across England. Leading mental health charity Mind says "immediate political action" is needed as NHS mental health facilities are "at breaking point". Mind claims "patients' human rights are being violated" and "wrongly restrained" across "run-down, understaffed" mental health wards. Its Raise the Standard campaign argues that a "full statutory inquiry" is the "first step" into resolving widespread issues. Dr Sarah Hughes, chief executive of Mind, said: "One case of abuse, neglect or unsafe care is too many, people are suffering because of the shocking state of care in mental health hospitals. "People should go to hospital to get well, not to endure harm. This is wholly unacceptable and must be addressed urgently." Read full story Source: Sky News, 20 June 2023
  16. News Article
    Dozens of former patients are launching legal action against a group of scandal-hit children’s mental health hospitals after The Independent exposed a culture of “systemic abuse”. More than 30 people, some of who are still children, are taking action after claiming they were mistreated at children’s hospitals run by The Huntercombe Group between 2003 and 2023. Allegations include children being injured during restraint, inappropriate force-feeding and patients being over-medicated. Among the claimants are: A boy who has been left “traumatised” after being “drugged out of his mind” while staying at one of the hospitals. A girl who alleges she was groped by a member of staff and now needs more intensive inpatient care. A woman who says she was “forced to wee in bins” as there were not enough staff to take patients to the toilet. A mother of one claimant told The Independent: “It is diabolical, I hope [the claims] can stop them from doing any more damage because it is just awful. Our beautiful girl has just been so ruined by them.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 18 June 2023
  17. News Article
    One in five cases in which patients attend A&E needing mental healthcare are spending more than 12 hours in the department – at least double the rate of patients with physical health problems. Unpublished internal NHS data seen by HSJ also suggests the proportion of mental health patients suffering long waits in accident and emergency has almost tripled when compared to the situation before the pandemic. According to the data, the proportion of attendances by patients with a mental health problem who waited more than 12 hours in A&E before being admitted or discharged increased from 7% (34,945 breaches) in 2019-20 to 20% (88,250 breaches) in 2022-23. The situation has become so difficult, that some acute trusts are spot purchasing private sector mental health in order to discharge patients. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 5 June 2023
  18. News Article
    The NHS has been criticised for sending vulnerable patients to a children’s hospital despite receiving reports of more than 1,600 “sexual safety incidents” at the 59-bed unit. A series of investigations by The Independent have exposed allegations of systemic abuse across a group of children’s hospitals run by the former Huntercombe Group. The latest revealed that a total of 1,643 “sexual safety incidents” had been reported in four years at its hospital in Maidenhead – accounting for more than half of all sex-related investigations reported in the 209 children’s mental health units across the country since 2019. Despite the majority of these reports being made prior to 2022-23, the NHS did not take any action and only stopped using the hospital, also known as Taplow Manor, this year. Gemma Byrne, head of health policy and campaigns at Mind, said in response to The Independent report on sexual incidents: “These horrific reports reveal the systemic scale of abuse and neglect in inpatient mental health settings. Even when patients bravely came forward to share their stories, some of which took place more than 10 years ago, young people continued to be sent to a unit which was known to have catastrophic failings in physical and sexual safety.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 18 April 2023
  19. News Article
    A single children’s mental health hospital with just 59 beds reported more than 1,600 “sexual safety incidents” in four years, shocking NHS figures reveal. Huntercombe Hospital in Maidenhead was responsible for more than half of the sex investigations reported in the 209 children’s mental health units across the country. Despite warnings at a rate of more than one a day to the health service since 2019, no action was taken to stop vulnerable NHS patients being sent to the scandal-hit unit as a result of the 1,643 sexual incident reports. The private unit is now finally due to be closed after an investigation by The Independent revealed allegations of verbal and physical abuse, prompting the NHS to withdraw patients. The hospital since said it plans to reopen as an adult unit. Figures obtained from the NHS show Huntercombe’s Maidenhead unit, Taplow Manor, was behind 57% of the 2,875 reported sexual incidents and assaults reported at England’s child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) over the past four years. Reported incidents can range from sexually inappropriate language to serious sexual assault and rape. Read full story Source: The Independent, 11 April 2023
  20. News Article
    Three mothers whose sons have been locked in hospital psychiatric units in Scotland for years have spoken to the BBC because they’re desperate to get them out. The three young men did not break the law but have autism and learning disabilities. Jamie has autism and was sectioned after becoming distressed at 19. Although he was free to go after 3 months there was no where for him to go so he has lived in hospital units since then. He is now 24. The Scottish government said it was unacceptable to hold people with complex needs in hospital when they could be cared for in the community. "He's left to rot", says his mother. Watch video Source: BBC News, 9 February 2022
  21. News Article
    The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) has launched an investigation into community mental health care following the death of a 56-year-old woman. HSIB has begun examining how patients in crisis with severe mental health needs are assessed by NHS services. The investigation came after warnings from multiple coroners over the poor assessment of suicide risk in people in mental health crisis in the last year and followed the death of Frances Wellburn, who took her own life in August 2020 while under the care of Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation NHS Trust (TEWV). Wellburn had long-term mental health problems but suffered a crisis and was admitted to hospital in September 2019. Following discharge, she was not referred to a specialist NHS service for people experiencing psychosis because clinicians incorrectly believed she was too old for the service, according to a TEWV investigation report seen by The Independent. Despite being assessed as a “medium risk”, Wellburn was not contacted by mental health teams for three months. In June 2020, she was admitted to an inpatient unit for three weeks, but her health deteriorated, and she later took her own life. Separately, coroner warnings in three prevention of future deaths reports published last year found mental health staff failing to risk assess people who later took their own lives. HSIB’s investigation will look into how patients’ risk is assessed when receiving care in the community and how services interact with families and other health services. It will also examine how mental health services consider menopause when assessing women’s mental health and referrals to early intervention psychosis services. Read full story Source: The Independent, 27 January 2022
  22. News Article
    There are serious concerns over the standards of specialist care being provided to patients with the most complex mental health needs, a BBC investigation has found. Patients sent by the NHS to stay in mental health rehabilitation units say they have been placed in unsafe environments, often far from home, with untrained staff. Experts say not enough is being done to regulate the sector, which costs the NHS half a billion pounds a year. Lissa had spent years struggling with her mental health, having experienced traumatic life events. She was diagnosed with mixed personality disorder, depression and high-functioning Asperger's. So when the NHS sent her to a unit in Coventry run by Cygnet Health Care for a specialist talking therapy, she agreed. The hospital, however, was in special measures. There had been two deaths in the previous 20 months. In both cases there was found to be a failure to follow the patient's care plan and carry out observations correctly. Lissa says staff failed to treat her with dignity and respect. The system in England is regulated by the Care Quality Commission, (CQC). Some rehabilitation wards haven't been inspected for four or more years. John Chacksfield, who was a CQC inspector until late 2020, says greater scrutiny is needed. "Sometimes the private sector provides really excellent service, but there are certain units that really do need regular inspections just to make sure staff are being trained enough, or are having enough clinical supervision. It does worry me," he says. Read full story Source: BBC News, 18 January 2022
  23. News Article
    “Unacceptable” failures by a mental health hospital to manage the physical healthcare of a woman detained under the mental health act contributed to her starving to death, The Independent has learned. A second inquest into the death of a 45-year-old woman, Jennifer Lewis, has found that the mental health hospital to which she was admitted “failed to manage her declining physical health” as she suffered from the effects of malnutrition. Ms Lewis had a long-term diagnosis of schizophrenia. Her family described how she had lived a full life, completed a degree, and given lectures about living with mental illness. However, after undergoing bariatric surgery, against the wishes of her family, her mental state declined and she was admitted to the Bracton Centre, run by Oxleas, in 2014. In an interview with The independent, her sister, Angela, described how, in the year before her death, Ms Lewis lost her hair, suffered from diarrhoea, and developed sores on her legs as she effectively “starved to death” from malnutrition. Ms Lewis’s sister told The Independent that in the year leading up to her death, when the family warned doctors she was “starving to death”, their concerns were dismissed and they were told that the hospital “will not let it come to that”. Mental health charity Rethink has called for improvements to physical healthcare for patients with severe mental illness, whose physical needs they say are “all too often ignored”, while experts at think tank the Centre for Mental Health have warned that patients with mental illness are dying too young as the system “still separates mental and physical health”. Read full story Source: The Independent, January 2022
  24. News Article
    A nurse who was struck off for refusing to admit a woman to a mental health unit before she killed herself said 'leave her, she will faint before she dies' before he kicked her out of the facility. Paddy McKee allegedly made the comment as Sally Mays, 22 - who had mental health issues - tried to strangle herself when she was refused admission. Ms Mays killed herself at home in Hull in July 2014 after being refused a place at Miranda House in Hull by McKee and another nurse. Despite her being a suicide risk, they would not give her a place at the hospital after a 14-minute assessment. Her parents Angela and Andy have fought for several years for improvements to be made and lessons to be learnt from her death. McKee was this month struck off following a Fitness to Practice hearing conducted by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. The report by the NMC was this week published and condemned McKee, saying 'he treated her in a way that lacked basic kindness and compassion'. The NMC found his actions to refuse Ms Mays' admission had contributed to her death. Read full story Source: Mail Online, 12 January 2022
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