CQC calls for ‘fundamental change’ to restraint, seclusion and segregation

A review by the Care Quality Commission of the use of restraint, seclusion and segregation in care services for people with a mental health condition, a learning disability or autistic people has found that many are ‘falling through the gaps’.

Inspectors saw examples of people spending up to 13 years in long-term segregation, with a lack of suitable care in the community preventing discharge for 60% of people the CQC saw during its review.

Inspectors also saw examples of people’s human rights being at risk such as not being able to access fresh air and not having access to toilets.

However, the regulatory body did find that ‘overall, people in community-based services were experiencing more person-centred care and a better quality of life than individuals with comparable complex needs in hospitals,’ and that ‘environments were generally more homely, and people had more access to the community.’

The issue is, however, that the quality of care people received varied greatly, owing to issues such as staffing and skills shortages.

The review recommends that stakeholders ‘pool their budgets and work together to provide support for people with a learning disability, autistic people and people with a mental health condition as soon as they need it.’

The review also recommended that there ‘must be a named national specialist commissioner for complex care with oversight for ensuring commissioners are held to account for their decisions.’

Dr Kevin Cleary, Deputy Chief Inspector of hospitals and lead for mental health, said:
“We saw people receiving poor care in unsuitable noisy and chaotic ward environments, undoubtedly causing them distress.

“We saw too many examples where people were subject to unnecessary restrictions and examples of people’s human rights at risk of being breached.

“It is clear there needs to be fundamental change in the way care is planned, funded, delivered and monitored for people with a learning disability, autistic people and people with mental health conditions.”

You can read the full review at https://www.cqc.org.uk/publications/themed-work/rssreview
Warning: some people may find some of the details upsetting.

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