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Mental health: The NHS patients who are 'abused and ignored'

New rights should be given to severely ill mental health patients detained in hospital to stop abuse and neglect of this vulnerable group, a review says.

The 1983 Mental Health Act is outdated and needs an overhaul, sectioning is being misused and does not properly protect patients' rights, it says.
The independent review - ordered by the government - heard from patients who had suffered during their detentions.
The prime minister said the injustices were unacceptable and promised action.

Kate King, 56, spent seven years in and out of hospitals in East Anglia after being admitted in 2004 following a period of post-natal depression.
She said her detention probably saved her life as she had been really struggling following the birth of her two children but her experience, in a variety of units, had been "awful" at times.
"I was abused and ignored. I lost my voice," she said. She said she had experienced other patients being aggressive and swearing at her, with one even stalking her. But she also complained about her treatment at the hands of staff. "I was restrained face down on a mattress. One nurse even told me I should kill myself," she said. "When I tried to object or complain, I was not listened to. There was good care too - I remember once being taken go-karting. But my experiences left me anxious and suicidal."


What is the solution?
Mrs King formed part of the working group put together to review the way the Mental Health Act worked. It included mental health professionals, academics and patients. The 18-month review recommended a number of changes, including:

  • new rights for patients to legally challenge their treatment
  • more frequent opportunities to challenge detention
  • legally binding advanced care plans so patients could express how they wanted to be treated if they were sectioned
  • a requirement for doctors to record when and why they chose to ignore patient requests
  • an end to police cells being used as a place of safety and less frequent use of police cars to transport patients
  • the right to choose a "nominated person" to have control of a patient's care if they were sectioned - at the moment it automatically goes to their nearest relative


Read the full review here

Source: BBC News 6th December 2018

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