North East NHS boss reacts to mental health scandals and says exposing failings ‘is a good thing’

The chief executive of an North East NHS Trust welcomed the exposure of failings and abuse in the mental health sector

After a series of NHS scandals highlighting abuse and failings within mental health wards, the top brass at a North East NHS trust has welcomed greater scrutiny. 

Speaking at a board meeting of the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust (CNTW) just hours after the publication of damning reports showing how counterparts at a neighbouring trust had failed three teenage girls in the lead up to their deaths under NHS care, chief executive James Duncan said it was important to “welcome” issues of abuse being highlighted. 

He said media reports such as October’s Panorama documentary highlighting abuse of patients at the Edenfield mental health ward near Manchester – along with further scrutiny of the failings at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust that led to the deaths of Emily Moore, Nadia Sharif and Christie Harnett – were “a good thing”. 

Mr Duncan told the meeting: “I don’t think there’s ever been a time when the type of services we provide have been more in the news. And on that, I think the first thing to say is let’s not see that as a bad thing. Let’s see it as a good thing that issues of abuse and poor care are being brought into the public eye.

“Because if we are honest, the people we support are often a group who often can be most easily forgotten. So because of this we welcome the reports.”

CNTW has – on the orders of NHS England and the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board – produced a report, discussed at the same meeting on Wednesday, setting out the “organisational response to findings identified at Edenfield Ward, Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust”.

Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s national mental health director has told NHS Trusts to have an “it could happen here” mindset, Mr Duncan said, and to conduct urgent safeguarding reviews. 

The report, authored by chief operating officer Ramona Duguid “focussed on where we feel we have areas for further continuous improvement”. These areas, Ms Duguid wrote are around boosting leadership on wards and ensuring patient and carer voices are included in decision making – especially when it comes to long-term segregation and the use of restrictive restraints.

The report also set out “mitigations” in place to prevent risk factors from occurring – and highlighted work already happening including the use of a carer’s charter and “triangle of care” to ensure the involvement of those receiving care and their loved ones in decisions.

It adds that there is “24/7 oversight” and “robust processes in place for support and investigations in relation to maintaining professional standards for medical, nursing, therapies, and allied health professionals”.

Full story here

Source: Chronicle Live, 2nd November 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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