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Shock report reveals 473 violent incidents on mental health wards

PUBLISHED: 18:08 31 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:16 07 September 2010

HUNDREDS of staff and patients have been violently assaulted in mental health wards across Haringey in the last year, a new report has revealed. A breakdown of figures published this week show there were 473 incidents of violence in Haringey s mental heal

HUNDREDS of staff and patients have been violently assaulted in mental health wards across Haringey in the last year, a new report has revealed.

A breakdown of figures published this week show there were 473 incidents of violence in Haringey's mental health area during a 12-month period.

The highest number of incidents related to physical abuse while there was one incident of arson and two of sexual assault.

The revelation follows the Healthcare Commission's independent report which rated Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust.

It rates trusts on a wide range of aspects from having a positive therapeutic environment to creating a feeling of safety for staff and visitors.

The Trust was rated as fair overall with weaknesses in areas including provisions to ensure patients, staff and visitors are safe.

Now new measures are to be put in place to increase security measures for staff and patients.

Maria Kane, acting chief executive, admitted improvements must be made to ensure the safety of patients and staff on mental health wards.

She said: "We accept that we have a lot of work to do in some areas, such as creating a sense of safety. We have a comprehensive action plan in place to address these issues.

"We need to ensure that staff are aware of the process and procedures which protect themselves, visitors and vulnerable patients, for example, prevention of and reaction to any sexual assault. We are planning further training on this.

"Since the scores were assessed we have made many improvements, such as going even farther to ensure that patients are admitted to hospital when it is appropriate for them and they stay in hospital no longer than necessary."

The Trust was rated as good for "patients being admitted to hospital when it is appropriate for them and they stay in hospital no longer than necessary".

Ms Kane said: "We are pleased that we have received an excellent for some areas of our work such as crisis resolution, home treatment team gatekeeping."

The Healthcare assessed all 69 NHS trusts providing acute inpatient mental health services in England. This covered 554 wards providing almost 10,000 beds for patients between the ages of 18 and 65.

Overall, eight trusts were rated as "excellent", 20 as "good", 30 as "fair" and 11 as "weak".

The commission conducted the review following a number of reports highlighting concerns about the quality of inpatient mental health services.

It pointed to high levels of violence, with 45 per cent of nurses and 15 per cent of patients reporting that they were physically assaulted in 2007. The report also said there was insufficient attention to the sexual safety and overcrowding in some trusts.

Anna Walker, the commission's chief executive, said: "There are cases where people are not always getting the personalised, safe, high quality care that they need.

"This is happening at a time of crisis in their lives and it cannot be ignored."

The findings of the report reveal startling figures for Haringey Mental Health Area.

Described as incidents by adverse event, the report shows there was a total of 473 incidents against staff and patients in mental care wards between April 2007 and March this year.

Injured while restraining a patient12

Challenging behaviour38

Abuse of staff by public3

Abuse - other 2

Disruptive or aggressive behaviour91

Physical abuse or assault258

Racial abuse, assault or

violence3

Deliberate fire setting1

Sexual abuse or assault2

Throwing objects

aggressively11

Verbal abuse or disruption18

Assault with a weapon1

Total473

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