CQC have published their report on the use of long-term segregation on mental health wards for children and young people and wards for people with learning disability or autism. CQC found at least 62 adults and children had been living in segregation in mental health hospitals for long periods of time.
Findings found patients had been placed in hospitals miles away from home and some had spent years in hospital.
Dr Paul Lelliott, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (lead for Mental Health) at CQC, has said:
“The 39 people we have visited who are cared for in segregation are in a very vulnerable situation. Their world is narrowed to a highly restricted existence in a single room, or small suite of rooms. For many, their interactions with other people are characterised by distress and sometimes by the use of force by staff who consider this necessary to protect the person or others from harm. They have little or no say over decisions about their lives or their future. Many are also a long way from home – which can make it difficult for families to maintain contact.
“We are calling for urgent action to strengthen the safeguards that protect the safety, welfare and human rights of people held in segregation. We think that independent advocates have an important role to play in this – if they are trained and supported to recognise what is good care and what is not.
“Given the severity and complexity of their problems, people held in segregation should be receiving expert care in an environment that is adapted to their specific needs. Although this was the case for some, for others the care was simply not of an acceptable standard. In some hospitals, a high proportion of staff were unqualified, with little or no training in the skills essential for working with people with a learning disability or autism and complex needs.”