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Lib Dems uncover shocking levels of force against mental health patients

September 27, 2016 3:03 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

The use of physical restraint against mental health patients has surged by almost 17% over the last three years, with an average of 183 restraints every single day, research by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The findings were uncovered in an audit of mental health trusts across the country conducted by Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Norman Lamb.

The audit also showed that people with mental illness are still regularly being subjected to face-down restraint, a dangerous and distressing practice which can restrict a patient's breathing. Trusts reported 12,347 incidents of face-down restraint over the last year, despite guidance issued by Norman Lamb as Care Minister in April 2014 aimed at ending the practice altogether.

The largest number of face-down restraint incidents were reported in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear (3210), Birmingham and Solihull (1144) and Avon and Wiltshire (607).

1,548 injuries to patients and 2,789 injuries to staff were reported as having occurred as a result of physical restraint, highlighting the dangers it can pose to both patients and staff.

Commenting on the findings, Norman Lamb MP said:

"Heavy use of physical restraint is utterly unacceptable and has no place in our NHS.

"This practice is outdated, dangerous and causes vulnerable people a great deal of distress at a time when they should feel safe and cared for.

"The Health Secretary must urgently follow up with Trusts who are still frequently using physical and face-down restraint and review why this is still happening.

"It is simply not good enough for us to keep failing vulnerable people in this way."