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Mind responds to allegations of the mistreatment of more than 20 teenagers across five hospitals run by The Huntercombe Group

Tuesday, 01 November 2022 Mind

Last week (Thursday 27 October), Sky News and the Independent revealed that a joint investigation by them into five hospitals run by The Huntercombe Group highlighted repeated allegations of over-restraint and inadequate staffing, which left young people at increased risk of self-harm.  

Mind and other mental health charities have urged the Government to launch a public inquiry into systemic failings of inpatient mental health services and urgent reform of the Mental Health Act, especially in reforms for under 18s in hospitals.

In response to these allegations, Paul Spencer Head of Health, Policy & Campaigns for Mind said:

“The allegations made by Sky News into the five hospitals run by The Huntercombe Group are deeply concerning and they need to be addressed immediately.

"When a young person is in a mental health hospital, they are likely to be at their most unwell and most vulnerable. They and their loved ones need to be able to trust that they will be kept safe and treated with dignity, not only is this a basic human right, but it also makes a huge difference to a person’s recovery. We need to see reforms to mental health care across England to make sure to make sure people are getting the help they need and are being treated with dignity and respect.

"This incident also serves as a vital reminder about why the UK government needs to progress with the reform of the Mental Health Act and why we need the Bill strengthened, especially in reforms for under 18s in hospitals.”

To make reforms work for children and young people and increase their say over their care and treatment, Mind is calling for:

  • A decision-making test for under 16s in respect of care and treatment to ensure there is clarity on when children and young people are able to make their own decisions

  • Automatic referral to advocacy and written care and treatment plans for all under 18s regardless of whether they’re there informally or have been detained under the Mental Health Act

  • Stronger protection against out of area and adult ward placements

  • A duty on the Secretary of State to ensure national data on the experiences of children and young people as mental health inpatients (including informal patients) is regularly collected and published.

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