Care Quality Commission release findings into report on the use of Restraint, Seclusion and Segregation in healthcare settings

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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has today published their long-awaited report into the use of restraint, seclusion and segregation in hospitals for people with learning disabilities and/or autism.

The report found that too many people were receiving care that could be classed as inhumane and undignified. 

The CQC identified ‘cultures of restraint’ in some hospitals and an excessive reliance on the use of seclusion and segregation – they gave example cases where a person has been secluded or segregation for 13 years.

The report inspectors visited 43 hospitals wards and other locations.  They reported a low threshold for the use of restraint – 81% of wards for children and young people had used restraint in the previous month.

Family members were stopped from visiting and patients in segregation were left in significant pain for months before treatment was sought.

A key finding of the report has been the lack of community provision delaying a person’s discharge from such units.  It found that this lack of provision affected 60% of the people reviewed and that they were still detained in the units when they didn’t need to be.

Dr Kevin Cleary, the CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals and lead for mental health, spoke to the BBC and said seclusion and restraint should only be used in extreme cases.

“We saw too many examples where people were subject to unnecessary restrictions and examples of people’s human rights at risk of being breached.”

I acted for former residents of Winterbourne View and now act for those affected by events at Whorlton Hall and other private hospitals, and I think what matters now is what happens next.  There needs to be real change in the way support is offered in the community at early stages in order to prevent admissions to such units. If admission cannot be avoided, it needs to be for the shortest possible effective period.  There needs to be stronger regulation and inspection around the use of restraint and seclusion, and effective regulatory sanctions used against providers when people’s human rights are being breached.  Change was promised by the Government in 2011 after Winterbourne View, and again in 2019 after Whorlton Hall, but numbers of admissions are still high and restraint is still used too much.

If you’ve got concerns about the standard of care that a relative is receiving, please contact us to find out if we can help.

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