Thursday, 22 September 2016

Face-down restraint continuing in NHS mental health wards

Face-down physical restraint is still being used in mental health wards in England, despite the government and the NHS saying it should stop.

Its use, which can restrict a patient's breathing, dropped only slightly over the two years following new guidelines.

In 2013-14, 22.4% of recorded incidents of restraints were face-down, falling to 18.5% by 2015-16.

Some healthcare trainers say face-down restraint can be the only appropriate way of keeping staff and patients safe.

The total number of recorded restraints rose by 16.6% from 2013-14 to 2015-16, although NHS managers said better reporting might be part of the reason for the increase.

The figures were gathered following a Freedom of Information request by Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk and former Health Minster, who introduced the new guidance in April 2014.