The patients at Edenfield regional secure unit are amongst the most vulnerable people in our society. What we saw in the BBC Panorama documentary was shocking but not surprising. The lack of humanity and compassion, the over-use and inappropriate use of seclusion and restraint, the impoverished environment without access to purposeful activities and therapies and the failure to ensure the safe dispensing of medication are inexcusable. They are a breach of human rights. Senior management within Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust had failed to even see the toxic culture revealed by the documentary of a service only one mile from their offices.
Our thoughts are with those who are victims of the abuse and their families. We know that it is hard to speak out and we know that brave individuals have done so, so that others do not suffer what they have had to endure.
It is important to recognise that these failings are not restricted to the Edenfield Unit, despite the Trust’s attempt to suggest that the issues only relate to three wards. These issues are systemic. The director for mental health care in England has ordered an internal NHS country-wide safety review. This is not enough. A sector that relies on the widespread deprivation of an individual’s liberty without therapeutic interventions or properly paid and trained staff with the time to listen and care, is ripe for abuse.
We must also highlight that the BBC presents a hospital that appears to be almost entirely white. We know that Black and Asian people are disproportionately represented in psychiatric services and that Black men in particular are more often subject to high doses of medication and more restrictive practices such as restraint. Black pain and suffering should not be hidden and the racism of our mental health system must be addressed.
CHARM has been calling for a root and branch review of services for the last two years, because of the failings in community and hospital services in the region. We have not been listened to.
In Manchester our experience has been that the Trust places its professional reputation before openness and transparency. There have been multiple critical incidences in community and inpatient services over the last two years. At Park House in October 2022 a patient was stabbed and will never recover. During 2020-21 three young people died in Prestwich hospital in a period of nine months. The Central Community teams were declared inadequate by the CQC in February 2023. At present all community teams in Manchester are in special measures. We have been tracking the failure and challenges facing services throughout Greater Manchester through Mental Health Trust Watch where we have recorded information on dozens of incidents. In Greater Manchester, the state of services are leading to experienced and dedicated staff leaving the Trust.
Our evidence highlights that failings are widespread within both public and private hospitals in Greater Manchester. This year the Guardian highlighted the lack of safe care in private mental health hospitals nationally. In Greater Manchester, a significant number of private hospitals are declared by the CQC as needing improvement, inadequate or placed in special measures. Currently these include Priory Cheadle; Cygnet Bury; Cygnet Lodge Salford; Eleanor Independent Hospital. We must also raise concerns about the effectiveness of CQC scrutiny when Edenfield had a rating of ‘good’ before the Panorama broadcast. The BBC have said that whilst they were secretly filming the CQC praised senior management describing them as “strong, motivated leaders”. Also despite three men dying in Elysium Healthcare’s The Spinney in a nine month period in 2020, it was rated outstanding.
Enough is enough.
We call on senior management of Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust to resign.
We call on all those who share our concerns to support a peer led, People’s Inquiry into all Mental Health in-patient and community services in Greater Manchester.
CHARM is calling for those who have experienced abuse or adverse experiences in mental health services to come forward and share their testimony at a public meeting on Wednesday November 23rd in Manchester.
Public Statements from other organisations and individuals
Statement on Panorama: Undercover Hospital from Manchester Voluntary Sector
Last night BBC’s Panorama aired their undercover investigation into the treatment of patients at the Edenfield Secure Mental Health Centre and we know this will have brought up painful memories and impacted people who have experienced these kinds of services, people who have supported their loved ones and for professionals that work hard to support vulnerable people with mental health issues. It was hard for us all to watch.
As charities and community groups working in the field of mental health in Greater Manchester, we want everyone to know that we are here to support you. We want to remind everyone in Greater Manchester that we continue to work as hard as we can to ensure people who face any kind of mental illness to have their rights and dignity respected.
What we saw on Panorama last night was unacceptable and we are aware that various investigations are already underway, including a Greater Manchester Police investigation into potential criminal offences. Anyone with information should contact 101 quoting Operation Crawton.
We all have a right to expect safeguarding, professional standards and codes of conduct are observed in the delivery of care and support. We will be watching the response by Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust and ask that they take urgent and comprehensive measures to ensure that all services, not just those in Edenfield, are able to operate in a way which ensures that care, respect and dignity inform every decision and every action.
We stand ready to assist with that where we can – and to call it out if we do not see progress.
We also call on local leaders to plan for a fully independent investigation, working with VCSE organisations in Greater Manchester, to be carried out at the most immediate opportunity following any criminal investigation.
We also believe strongly that the Government must review the funding for mental health provision in the UK. To put it plainly, mental health services do not get the budgets or priority that they deserve. This should not be an economic decision, it is a matter of justice.
We reiterate that anyone with information about this investigation should contact 101 quoting Operation Crawton and Greater Manchester Victims Services can be contact via 0161 200 1950.
The voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in Greater Manchester is ready to support any individual affected by this programme and we encourage people to reach out – don’t suffer in silence.
Supporters as of 3rd October 2022:
African & Caribbean Mental Health Services
The Alternative Provider Federation
Altogether Human CIC
Back on Track
BHA For Equality
Caribbean & African Health Network
CHARM Communities for Accessible Righs Based Mental Health
Cracking Good Food CIC
Creative Mojo Manchester West
George House Trust
Groundwork Greater Manchester
Mad Dogs Homeless Project
Manchester Care and Repair
The Manchester Men’s Room
MASH Manchester Action on Street Health
Salford Community and Voluntary Services
Sarah Forster, Independent Consultant
Sow the City
Tameside, Oldham annd Glossop Mind
TLC: Talk, Listen, Change
Together Dementia Support
The Tree of Life Centre WythenshaweTS4SE Cooperative
Voluntary Sector North West
Wai Yin Society
Mind calls for a full statutory public inquiry into systemic failings of inpatient mental health services across England. They say: “We are especially concerned about the apparently excessive and punitive use of restraint and seclusion for people with mental health problems and autism. We know these dangerous measures are traumatising, likely to make people’s mental health even worse, and can even be fatal – either directly or indirectly. Everyone involved in the running of the Edenfield Centre must now fully cooperate with authorities including the police as part of their investigation to make sure safe and therapeutic care is reinstated immediately. The investigation must also draw heavily on the experiences of patients and those close to them.
“It’s been 10 years since the scandalous treatment taking place at Winterbourne View was exposed. But Winterbourne and Edenfield are not isolated cases as campaigners and families have repeatedly made clear; and the CQC’s restraint, segregation and seclusion review (2020) confirmed. It’s clear we still have a long way to go when it comes to delivering the minimum quality of care we expect – a safe and therapeutic environment conducive to recovery. We now must see a full examination of the systemic failings of inpatient mental health services in England. Mind is also urging the UK government to deliver on its promise of a reformed mental health bill, which aims to give people greater choice and control in the treatment they receive when detained under section.”
The Equality and Human Rights Commission holds GMMH to account for potential human rights abuses. In their open letter to Neil Thwaite, CEO GMMH they require him to inform them what “action your Trust is taking immediately to address the potential human rights abuses at Edenfield Centre, and what longer-term plans you will put in place to prevent such abuses in future. This is so we can determine what action we should take, including through the use of our legal powers.” See letter here.
Creative Support calls for Mental Health units to have more external monitoring and a completely independent advocacy systems to ensure that best practice is adhered to and that toxic cultures don’t have the opportunity to become embedded.
Bury South MP Christian Wakeford said: “To put it very simply, it’s absolutely horrific. “The allegations that have been coming from patients, who are arguably the most vulnerable in society with learning difficulties, with mental health issues, being treated without respect, without professionalism, without care is deeply distressing and disturbing.”He called for a fully independent review into what happened. “We owe it not only to the patients but to their families to understand how long it’s been going on for, how many patients have been affected and just how deep this goes,” he said. “I fear it’s not just a culture of behaviour, but a failure of leadership as well.”
Salford Council For Voluntary Service said : We all have a right to expect safeguarding, professional standards and codes of conduct are observed in the delivery of care and support. We will be watching the response by Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust and ask that they take urgent and comprehensive measures to ensure that all services, not just those in Edenfield, are able to operate in a way which ensures that care, respect and dignity inform every decision and every action. We stand ready to assist with that where we can – and to call it out if we do not see progress. We also call on local leaders to plan for a fully independent investigation, working with VCSE organisations in Greater Manchester, to be carried out at the most immediate opportunity following any criminal investigation. We also believe strongly that the Government must review the funding for mental health provision in the UK. To put it plainly, mental health services do not get the budgets or priority that they deserve. This should not be an economic decision, it is a matter of justice.
National Autism Society said autism is not a mental health condition and mental health hospitals are not the right place for the vast majority of autistic people. But some spend months or even years in hospitals, far from their families, and we continue to hear deeply concerning reports of abuse, overmedication, inappropriate restraint and seclusion, as shown in this documentary.
NHS data released this month highlights the urgency of the situation, with 1,205 autistic people in mental health hospitals in England. This is an increase from 2015 when autistic people made up 38% of the number in hospital – now it is 61%. This is unacceptable.
Government must reform mental health law as soon as possible, and provide urgent and meaningful funding for the social care system, so that autistic people get the support they need. It’s been more than a decade since Winterbourne View, but lessons still haven’t been learned. A hospital is not a home – this scandal must end now.