Search

‘Barbaric’ restraining of Camden mental health patients under fire

16:10 04 September 2014

Aaron Dover experienced first hand the

Aaron Dover experienced first hand the 'brutality' of face-down restraints. Picture: Polly Hancock

Polly Hancock

The safety of mental health patients treated in Camden and Islington has been brought into question after the government’s health watchdog uncovered a high use of face-down restraints by staff, a prevalence of dangerous ligature points in wards, and centres struggling to keep out illegal drugs.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) published its report into Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust following an inspection this year.

While saying the trust treated patients with “dignity and respect”, the CQC found it in breach of six regulations.

These include not having an effective system to learn from incidents; compromising patient care by regularly moving its patients from ward to ward; and having staff with a poor knowledge of what rights mental health patients have.

It also revealed that a cluster of unexpected deaths are under review.

This comes after other deaths in March and April last year were investigated – something the CQC said was not due to “systemic issues”.

The watchdog’s “greatest concern”, however, lay in wards where ligature points which could be used by patients to hang themselves were “putting people’s safety at risk”.

“There were multiple ligature points on the acute wards across the trust,” the report said. “On four of the five wards at the Highgate Centre these assessments had failed to record any specific action to be taken to mitigate the risks.

“We noted a number of serious incidents had occurred in the trust over recent months which had involved the use of ligature points and resulted in serious harm to people.

“At the Highgate Mental Health Centre we found evidence of four separate serious incidents in March and May 2014 which involved attempts to self-harm with a ligature.”

It added: “This sadly resulted in one death.”

In May, the Ham&High reported the death of a patient at Highgate Mental Health Centre in Dartmouth Park Hill, seen by a fellow patient two days before “with her dressing gown tie around her neck”.

The patient said warnings had gone unheard. An internal investigation is still ongoing.

Face-down restraints were also highlighted in the CQC’s findings, a practice the Department of Health has urged trusts to stem.

In the last year, two-thirds of restraints used by the trust had been face-down, with 77 per cent of those restrained then medicated.

Aaron Dover, who was sent to Highgate Mental Health Centre last September and a tribunal later found was wrongly sectioned, had face-down restraints used on him three times.

The IT consultant, of Keats Grove, Hampstead, said: “They use very painful wrist locks, drag you while you’re screaming in agony and throw you onto the bed.

“They then inject you without telling you what it is they’re putting into you and lock the door. It’s barbaric.”

He is currently pursuing a private case against the trust after his foot was allegedly broken while being restrained.

The Ham&High has been in contact with another person whose arm was broken while being restrained.

A third former patient at Highgate Mental Health Centre, who did not want to be named, accused the trust of using “tricks” before CQC inspectors arrived.

She said: “Suddenly pictures are put up on the walls, flowers are put in rooms and the walls are painted. Care plans are also completed in the run-up to inspectors arriving. But I’m glad the inspectors come. It improves conditions here.”

A spokesman from the trust said: “The trust has invested £4million in refurbishing its hospital sites, including tackling all high-risk ligatures, so that patients are cared for in safe environments, and this is one part of a plan to reduce the risks of self-harm by patients.

“The Trust’s policy on face-down restraint was developed in line with existing National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance.

“However we are phasing this form of restraint out, along with all other trusts, in line with the national guidance from the Department of Health that was recently issued.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:25
Striking junior doctors outside the Royal Free Hospital during a national day of action 10.02.16.

Junior doctors protested on the picket lines of the Whittington and Royal Free hospitals today after staging a second walk-out.

Yesterday, 16:43
A basement excavation next door to AIR studios could leave  the famous recording venue out of action

Camden planners have made a U-turn by ruling that an 11,700-strong petition against a basement development next to AIR studios will not be ignored.

Yesterday, 16:30
Alex Lyons with her children Oscar, five, and Benjy, three.   Picture: Nigel Sutton

Haringey Council has U-turned on its plan to close a loophole allowing families to secure places for their children at some of the borough’s most popular primary schools even after moving miles away from catchment areas.

Yesterday, 16:07
Roundway

Day centres for autistic, vulnerable, and disabled people cannot be saved by using money raised from a proposed two per cent council tax rise, Haringey Council’s cabinet has ruled.

Yesterday, 10:30
Ergun Yasar will be sentenced next week

A man from Crouch End has admitted being part of a gang which cheated a casino in Paddington out of thousands of pounds by ‘card swapping’.

Yesterday, 09:35
Striking junior doctors outside the Whittington Hospital during a national day of action 10.02.16.

Junior doctors have walked out of the Royal Free and Whittington hospitals for the second time in weeks over contract disputes.

Tue, 21:05
Haringey Council Civic Centre

Haringey Council has U-turned on its plan to close a loophole allowing families to secure places for their children at some of the borough’s most popular schools even after moving miles away from catchment areas.

Tue, 17:29
Tulip Siddiq with volunteers from Royal Free young volunteers programme

Inspirational young volunteers were praised in parliament for their ‘amazing’ contribution to the Royal Free NHS trust.

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe