Learning disability patients being 'restrained' in Dorset

Learning disability patients being 'restrained' in Dorset

Published by Maria Greenwood at 11:41am 4th October 2019.

Learning disability patients were restricted through measures such as drugging or physical restraint more than a dozen times in just eight months at the Dorset Healthcare University NHS Trust.

Figures from NHS Digital show Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust staff reported using restrictive measures on patients with learning disabilities or autism 20 times in the eight months to June.

Physical restraint – which involves direct, physical contact by a staff member – was the most common type of intervention recorded at the Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust, with 10 reports.

Doctor medical

Mike Kelly, Dorset HealthCare's Clinical Director for Mental Health, said:

"We have a very low number of people with learning disabilities admitted to our acute inpatient wards.

"The majority of people under our care are successfully supported to live in the community.

"The use of physical interventions is always a last resort, and only in circumstances when an individual is at risk of causing harm to themselves or to others.

patient in hospital bed

"All staff in our mental health wards are trained in the use of de-escalation skills and approaches to ensure they use alternatives to restraint wherever possible and that - if a restraint is needed - it is done safely. 

"We continuously monitor all episodes of restraint and are fully committed to providing safe, high quality care to all our patients. Dorset HealthCare was recently recognised as an outstanding organisation by the Care Quality Commission, and this rating reflected the excellent work we have done in keeping restrictive interventions to a minimum."

The figures cover the period since the NHS first started producing them last year.

A spokeswoman for NHS England said:

"Local NHS services are working closely with patients, families and local authority partners to get appropriate and high quality care for people with a learning disability as early as possible, investing in community care and avoiding the need for intensive inpatient treatment wherever possible."