Police prepare for investigation into The Edenfield Regional Secure Unit following alleged mistreatment of patients by BBC Panorama programme

‘Immediate action has been taken to address the issues raised and to ensure patient safety, which is our utmost priority’ GMMH Spokesperson.

The Edenfield Centre is a secure unit helping mental health patients adjust back into the community. It works mainly with people who have been in prison or admitted to hospital following a criminal offence.

The Edenfield Centre based in the grounds of the former Prestwich Hospital in Bury is at the centre of the claims.

The unit cares for adult patients. The Manchester Evening News understands that action was taken after the BBC Panorama programme embedded a reporter undercover in the unit and then presented the NHS Trust which runs it with their evidence.

A spokesperson for GMP said: “We are aware of the allegations and are liaising with partner agencies to safeguard vulnerable individuals and obtain all information required to open an investigation.”

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “We can confirm that BBC Panorama has contacted the Trust, following research it conducted into the Edenfield Centre. We would like to reassure patients, carers, staff, and the public that we are taking the matters raised by the BBC very seriously.

“Immediate action has been taken to address the issues raised and to ensure patient safety, which is our utmost priority. We are liaising with partner agencies and stakeholders, including Greater Manchester Police. We are not able to comment any further on these matters at this stage.”

The main entrance to the Prestwich site of the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. The Edenfield Centre is within the grounds. (Image: Manchester Evening News)

Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust which runs the unit is already under scrutiny after three young people died within nine months at other units at the Prestwich facility. As reported in theManchester Evening News, Rowan Thompson, 18, died while a patient at the unit in October 2020, followed by Charlie Millers, 17, in December that year, and Ania Sohail, 21, in June last year.

Earlier this year, the Trust commissioned an ‘external report’ into the three deaths. On Tuesday last week, a pre-inquest hearing into the death of Rowan – who used the pronoun ‘they’ – heard that the full report would be available for the coroner to read ‘on or around September 30’

The Trust this week indicated it did not intend to publish the report. Asked by the Manchester Evening News if the review would be published, a spokesperson for the Trust said the body ‘always act on the wishes of the family regarding publication of reports’, adding “and so in line with this we have no immediate plans to make the report public.”
The parents of both Rowan Thompson and Charlie Millers said they wanted the report publishing. Charlie died five days after he was found unresponsive in his room at the Prestwich unit on December 2, 2020. His inquest should have been started on February 28, but was delayed due to the Trust commissioning the review. It is now scheduled to take begin on January 30 next year. His mother, Samantha, said: “It is disgusting how we have had our inquest delayed almost a year for a report that they have not even submitted on time. It was supposed to be ready in August.”

Last week, sitting at Rochdale Coroners’ Court, senior coroner Joanne Kearsley ordered that a copy of the review – authored by consultant psychiatrist Dr Lisa Rippon – be sent to her by September 24. A full inquest into Rowan’s death is due to begin at the end of next month.

Samantha Millers from Old Trafford, with a picture of her son, Charlie, who died at Prestwich mental health unit in December 2020. (Image: MEN Media)
The hearing was also told that a blood test sample processed on October 2, 2020, showed Rowan was suffering from ‘severe hyperkalemia’ – a condition in which a person has too low a concentration of potassium in their blood. They died the following day.

Ms Kearsley said the inquest would look into Rowan’s treatment plan and what advice doctors gave to GMMH regarding emergency treatment. It will also look into the impact of the drug flucloxacillin, which Rowan was given just hours before their death.

At a previous hearing, a lawyer representing Rowan’s family revealed they had a number of concerns regarding Rowan’s treatment while a patient on the Gardener Unit at Prestwich Hospital. They claimed there were ‘systemic issues regarding observation of patients on the unit’, and that the campaign group Inquest had expressed concerns following a number of deaths, including Rowan’s.

The inquest into Rowan’s death will be heard by a jury and is due to begin on October 24. A second pre-inquest review into the death of Ania Sohail is due to take place on December 16th.

The BBC has not responded to requests for comment.

Full story here

Source: Manchester Evening News, 13th September 2022

Published by CHARM Greater Manchester

CHARM, the Community for Holistic, Accessible, Rights Based Mental Health was launched by The Organic Recovery Learning Community in September 2020.

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