Toxic culture of abuse at a mental health hospital in Greater Manchester
Edenfield Centre in Prestwich, Greater Manchester, is one of the biggest mental health facilities in the UK where more than 150 patients are held under the Mental Health Act. Patients who are placed at the Edenfield Centre have complex needs and are vulnerable, as they often are at a serious risk of harming themselves or others.
The undercover investigation by BBC Panorama revealed that the staff at the Edenfield Centre abused their patients and put them at a serious risk of harm. The nature of the abuse included:
- Swearing, taunting and mocking patients in vulnerable situations such as during undressing. They were also seen joking about their patients’ self-harm
- Using unnecessary physical force and restraint
- Acting in a sexualised way towards patients
- Placing them in seclusion rooms – which are only to be used short-term to prevent immediate harm – for days, weeks or even months
- Falsifying patients’ records and not keeping them up-to-date.
In one case, the undercover footage showed a nurse refusing to check on a crying patient, who was known to self-harm and who has tried to kill herself repeatedly before. Staff are seen to make jokes about the patient saying “if she slit her throat you would know it” because “she would tell everybody about it”.
One patient, who has attacked staff in the past, was placed in a seclusion room for more than a year. She was refused her blanket and comfort teddy bears when requested. A support worked was filmed saying to her: “You’re lucky you’ve not got a straw fucking bed in there. I’d give you a straw bed like cows have to sleep on.”
Another patient – a 23-year old autistic woman with history of self-harm – was seen being dragged through the building by 8 staff members, being physically restrained and placed in the seclusion room because she has been shouting and was verbally abusive towards staff. A nurse was filmed saying that the patient was put into seclusion because staff “needed a break from her”.
Following the allegations a number of staff of the Edenfield Centre have been suspended and the Greater Manchester Police has opened a criminal investigation. The Care Quality Commission said that they were currently reviewing the information provided by BBC Panorama.
Victims of this horrific abuse and all residents of the Edenfield Centre must be immediately protected. Anyone who has been abused should be supported so that they could get justice for what happened to them.
In addition to the criminal investigation that is currently being undertaken by the police, the victims have the right to seek civil compensation for what happened to them at the Edenfield Centre.
Our specialised team at Bolt Burdon Kemp is available to assist anyone who has suffered harm at the Edenfield Centre or indeed other similar settings.
In some situations the victims themselves may lack capacity to instruct lawyers to represent them in their claim. If that is the case, we are able to accept instructions from a relative or a close friend who may act as their Litigation Friend. A Litigation Friend will be obliged to act in the best interests of the person for whom they act in this capacity.