Allegations staff mistreated patients at a mental health unit in Manchester

Police van
4 minute read

Allegations staff mistreated patients at a mental health unit in Manchester.

Enable Law is representing families of former and current patients

We have been instructed by families of former and current patients of Edenfield Centre, a mental health unit in Manchester, and are providing them with legal advice and support.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has opened an investigation into allegations staff mistreated patients at Edenfield, The Centre is based in Prestwich, Manchester and is operated by Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.

CQC has now suspended the hospital’s rating

The Centre was last inspected by the CQC in June and July 2019 with a report published in January 2020 that rated the service as “Good” although it identified four of the ten core services required improvement.  The CQC has now suspended the hospital’s rating for forensic inpatient or secure wards as a result of concerns about this service.

It is reported that a police investigation was opened following a period of undercover filming as part of the BBC Panorama series.  It has been reported that an undercover reporter at the Edenfield Centre filmed staff using restraint inappropriately and patients enduring long seclusions in small, bare rooms.

Undercover video footage is also said to show:-

  • Staff swearing at patients, taunting and mocking them in vulnerable situations – such as when they were undressing – and joking about their self-harm
  • Patients being unnecessarily restrained – according to experts who reviewed the footage – as well as being slapped or pinched by staff on some occasions
  • Some female staff acting in a sexualised way towards male patients
  • 10 patients being held in small seclusion rooms – designed for short-term isolation to prevent immediate harm – for days, weeks or even months, with only brief breaks
  • Patient observations, a crucial safety measure, being regularly missed and records falsified

Our team has also previously supported vulnerable adults and their families in claims regarding abuse at Winterbourne View, Clinton House, Mendip House and Whorlton Hall. I recognise that the vulnerable adults and their families will want answers and hope that the investigation will give them some recognition of what they have experienced. It is also important that the investigation identifies lessons that can be learnt and offer reassurance that other vulnerable adults will not have to suffer abuse and degrading treatment.

Chairman Rupert Nichols resigned

Greater Manchester NHS Mental Health Trust have been enrolled in the NHS England Recovery Programme in an attempt to improve the standards and deal with the challenges the Trust is facing.

The Recovery Support Programme was only launched in July 2021 and to date, there have only been 16 other Trusts enrolled in this programme. The Programme is part of NHS England’s Oversight Framework and is intended to provided focused and intensive support to NHS providers who are facing complex challenges.

This follows the Chairman of the Trust, Rupert Nichols resigning in November 2022. It is understood that in a letter addressed to his staff he reported “our trust is facing significant challenges following the inexcusable behaviours and examples of unacceptable care that been exposed at Edenfield Centre.”

It has been reported that his letter also stated that “Both I and the board have apologised to those affected directly and indirectly.”

Unfortunately, despite Mr Nichols comments, not all those affected have received an apology and, in fact, have not heard anything from the Trust or Mr Nichols and the family and my attempts to engage with the Trust and NHS-Resolution have been ignored.

Further report published

The Good Governance Institute have published their Governance and Assurance Review of Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.  The report was commissioned following the BBC Panorama documentary that exposed concerns of abuse and neglect of patient.  The report looked why the Trust’s governance and assurance system failed to alert the Trust’s board to the issue at Edenfield and whether there could be similar issues elsewhere across the Trust.  The report has highlighted many high level failures of the Trust’s governance and assurance systems and says that “it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Edenfield should be seen as a collective, not just of the trust or specific individuals, but of a system of governance and assurance…” and that patients were exposed to undue risk that was not acted upon as it should have been.

The culture within the trust is reported to be one of unhappy, anxious and often angry workforce and that there was a sense of fatalism, i.e. there was no point speak up because nothing would be done. That meant staff were reluctant to raise concerns and had come to see the “unacceptable situation” at Edenfield as normal.  It was noted that many staff reported that Edenfield was short of the staff numbers for safe care, especially registered nurses.

The GGI report supported the recommendations made by the independent review of January 2023 but recognised that the there was no simply “fix” to the underlying issues which it is said have been “years in the making”.

Further investigations by NHS England will address the service failures in more detail but it is hoped that the Trust will now recognise and take on board the report’s findings and accept the recommendations to their governance and assurance systems.

If you or a loved one has been mistreated, we can help

If you have a loved one affected, contact us for a free confidential discussion about how we can help.

::Gary Walker is a specialist lawyer experienced in supporting vulnerable adults who have suffered abuse in mental health units.

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