Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust suspends staff after alleged mistreatment of patients in mental health unit

Footage obtained by Panorama of the alleged mistreatment is harrowing. The programme is scheduled to be broadcast on Wednesday next week.

An NHS trust has suspended staff after allegations that patients were mistreated at a mental health unit. Last week it was revealed police are preparing to investigate the claims which relate to the Edenfield Centre based in the grounds of the former Prestwich Hospital in Bury.

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.

The Edenfield Centre has 11 wards and it is understood staff working on both male and female wards have been suspended. Meanwhile GMP are continuing to assess evidence in relation to the allegations.

In a statement to the Manchester Evening News the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Edenfield Centre, said today: “We can confirm that, in line with standard process, we have suspended a number of staff pending further investigations. We cannot provide you with any more than this at this stage.”

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.”

A sign at the former Prestwich Hospital site which now contains several units run by Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. (Image: MEN Media)
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 offences.

The MEN understands that footage obtained by Panorama of the alleged mistreatment is harrowing. The programme is scheduled to be broadcast on Wednesday next week.

Paul Reed, chair of the Manchester Users Network, which supports users and ex-users of psychiatric services in the area, said: “It can’t be continuing to function normally. I understand they are bringing in emergency staff from all over the place.

“The problem too is the Trust is unable to attract staff and existing staff are going off sick as they are not able to give the time they should to individual patients. due to the stress and pressure they are under.”

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’

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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