Whilst the UK has many excellent services providing person-centred therapeutic care, there have been too many shocking scandals exposing the unnecessary and inappropriate use of restrictive interventions.
The abuse and ‘psychological torture’ exposed at Whorlton Hall in last night’s Panorama is appalling. It is deeply disturbing that modern society fails to better protect the most fundamental human rights of the most vulnerable people in society. Urgent systems change is needed to prevent this ever happening again.
We need a system that provides the right support, in the right place, and at the right time. We need experienced multi-agency professionals working in communities, not institutions, with the skills to prevent people going into crisis rather than responding to it.
This requires a much more integrated education, health and social care system capable of better meeting the needs of vulnerable people in society.
However too many people with learning disabilities and/or autism still live in these institutions, not homes, and are subject to shocking levels of restrictions and supported by staff who don’t receive the training they need.
The Restraint Reduction Network is a network of people passionate about reducing restrictive practices and delivering positive, therapeutic and compassionate care. This Network has worked to create the new Restraint Reduction Network Training Standards, which will be mandatory in all NHS services from April 2020.
These Standards will improve training and help protect people’s fundamental human rights, but we need to keep building on this work and proactively move towards a society that values individuals using services, treating them well and striving to improve quality of life.
The Panorama programme showed highly restrictive practices including constant threats. We are committed to broadening our focus to work on other forms of restraint, such as psych-social restraint.
These calls for change cannot just be sound bites, but tangible and proactive calls to action reflected in what we do and who we are. We need to recognise the underlying culture required to deliver real, compassionate and therapeutic care and hold to high quality standards of care founded on human rights.
Find out more about our campaign to reduce restrictive practices here: https://restraintreductionnetwork.org/know-the-standard/