TWO hundred patients were injured after being physically restrained by mental health staff, new figures show.
The statistics from Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust have prompted concern from mental health charity Mind, which said the trust had more than 3,000 ‘restraint incidents’ last year, one of the highest totals in England.
Mind says some patients are likely to have been subjected to ‘face down restraint’, but the trust said it did not hold that information.
Mind chief executive Paul Farmer said: “Physical restraint can be humiliating, dangerous and even life-threatening, and the huge variation in use indicates some trusts are using it too quickly.
“Face-down restraint, when a person is pinned face-down on the floor, is particularly dangerous. It has no place in modern healthcare.”
He pointed to the case of David ‘Rocky’ Bennett, who died after face-down restraint at a mental health unit in Norfolk in 1998. Since then there have been at least 13 restraint-related deaths of people detained under the Mental Health Act, the charity said.
Lancashire Care has reported 3,018 physical restraint incidents in 2011/12, 200 of which resulted in an injury.
The next highest total in the North West was 1,538, reported by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
The lowest was 226 by Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
Some trusts revealed the number of face-down restraints, which showed at least 3,400 nationally.
Mr Farmer said: “We know healthcare staff do a challenging job and sometimes need to make difficult decisions very quickly, but physical restraint should only be used as the last resort.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Care said: “Lancashire Care prides itself on having a culture where the reporting of incidents, no matter how minimal, is actively encouraged.
“The trust is a major provider of acute mental health and specialist services across a large geographical area and as such, the figures should be viewed in the context of the trust’s overall service provision.
“As well as its mental health inpatient wards, the trust has also reported figures from its secure services inpatient units, acquired brain injury service and child and adolescent inpatient units.”