Law firm to investigate if senior managers were to blame for alleged abuse of patients at Edenfield mental health unit

The purpose of this investigation is to ascertain whether any individual or individuals employed by the Trust in a leadership capacity have caused or contributed towards failings in patient care’

The Edenfield Centre on the site of the former Prestwich Hospital is the subject of an investigation by GMP aftger alleged abuse of patients. Thirty staff are subject of disciplinary action by the Trust that runs it.

Thirty staff are the subject of disciplinary action after claims in a BBC Panorama programme that patients were abused. A dozen have been sacked, the MEN understands, and another 18 are to face hearings.

The action involves staff at the Edenfield Centre in the grounds of the former Prestwich Hospital amid demands for a public inquiry. There are fears, a Manchester City council committee hearing was told, alleged abuse of patients at the Edenfield Centre is happening at other Greater Manchester mental health treatment units.

Now Rupert Nichols, the chairman of the Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the unit has commissioned a law firm to carry out an “independent investigation”. It will scrutinise the role of the executive team, including the Chief Executive Officer, and the heads of specialist services including Edenfield management.

The Trust is also bracing itself for a Care Quality Commission report due to be published imminently which is expected to be damning.

In a letter to stakeholders, including, Bury council, Mr Nichols says the Edenfield Centre itself remains closed to new patient admissions, with a total of three wards closed in recent weeks. An enhanced management team remains in place, with daily oversight of patient care, staffing levels and a focus on safer staffing, additional training has also been provided across the Edenfield Centre.

He adds: “A separate investigation by Greater Manchester Police (GMP), into the allegations of failings in patient care identified by BBC Panorama, continues. We are co-operating fully with the police.

“All of the above forms part of the Trust’s commitment to put right the wrongs that have emerged in recent months – and to do so in a spirit of transparency and collaboration. Therefore, the Trust Board has also recently commissioned Law by Design Ltd to undertake a thorough and wholly independent investigation into the senior leadership of the Trust.

“The purpose of this investigation, delivered by a leading firm of specialist legal and HR experts, is to ascertain whether (and, if so, the extent to which) any individual or individuals employed by the Trust in a leadership capacity have, either through omission or action, caused or contributed towards failings in patient care.

“Their report, also due in December, will inform the Board of lessons to be learned and appropriate actions to be taken. In addition, central to our Improvement Plan is a continued commitment to engaging with service users, staff, carers and our wider stakeholders. This also forms part of our commitment to building back the trust of patients, their relatives and the wider public, and restoring the pride of our staff in working for the organisation.”

Several service user and carer “listening events” are being planned for the coming months. Mr Nichols adds: “Furthermore, our Freedom to Speak Up Guardian role continues to be widely publicised to colleagues across the Trust, as we rightfully ensure that staff have every opportunity to raise concerns and issues in a safe and confidential manner.”

Meanwhile an independent clinical review into the Edenfield Centre, has made 31 recommendations. It was commissioned by the Trust after it became aware of the Panorama findings and was led by Dr David Fearnley, Chief Medical Officer, of the Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust.

Some staff were filmed by an undercover Panorama reporter embedded in the unit from March to June of this year. The footage in the one-hour programme captured apparent humiliation, verbal abuse, mocking and assault of patients – plus alleged falsification of medical paperwork. A patient called Joanna was filmed apparently being pinched twice by a member of staff, and, against the rules three male patients are found in one room watching porn, it is claimed. A member of staff was apparently filmed having a nap on a wall during her shift.

Full story here

Source: Manchester Evening News, 17th 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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