Undercover footage broadcast during a BBC Panorama programme which aired yesterday evening highlighted alleged verbal and physical abuse of vulnerable patients with mental health problems and autism at the Edenfield Centre, run by Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. The programme raised serious concerns about the use of harmful and dangerous practices including unnecessary restraint and seclusion, near-mistakes with medication, falsification of observation records and physical and verbal abuse.
As a result, mental health charity Mind is calling for a full statutory public inquiry into systemic failings of inpatient mental health services across England.
Responding to the documentary, Vicki Nash, Associate Director of Policy, Campaigns and Public Affairs at Mind, said:
“The footage of patients at the Edenfield Centre obtained undercover by BBC Panorama is shocking and extremely concerning. People who have been admitted to medium secure units are likely to be experiencing moderate to severe mental health problems including suicidal thoughts, self-harming and psychosis.
When we are at our most unwell and vulnerable, we need caring and compassionate treatment in a safe and therapeutic environment to recover and we and our loved ones should be able to expect - as a bare minimum - basic humanity and respect.
The fact that footage obtained as part of this documentary has prompted a criminal police investigation indicates just how short of expectations this mental health service may have fallen.
“We are especially concerned about the apparently excessive and punitive use of restraint and seclusion for people with mental health problems and autism. We know these dangerous measures are traumatising, likely to make people’s mental health even worse, and can even be fatal - either directly or indirectly.
“Everyone involved in the running of the Edenfield Centre must now fully cooperate with authorities including the police as part of their investigation to make sure safe and therapeutic care is reinstated immediately. The investigation must also draw heavily on the experiences of patients and those close to them.
“It’s been 10 years since the scandalous treatment taking place at Winterbourne View was exposed. But Winterbourne and Edenfield are not isolated cases as campaigners and families have repeatedly made clear; and the CQC’s restraint, segregation and seclusion review (2020) confirmed. It’s clear we still have a long way to go when it comes to delivering the minimum quality of care we expect – a safe and therapeutic environment conducive to recovery. We now must see a full examination of the systemic failings of inpatient mental health services in England. Mind is also urging the UK government to deliver on its promise of a reformed mental health bill, which aims to give people greater choice and control in the treatment they receive when detained under section."