A recent report has revealed that the use of restraints on adults with learning disabilities within hospitals in England has risen by 50%.
Statistics show that in 2017, restraints were used more than 22,000 times whereas in 2016 the total number was 15,000. This increase has happened over a period of time where the government implied the overall number of people with learning difficulties in inpatient beds was decreasing.
The Department of Health commented on the report, stating it was committed to reducing the use of restrictive force in hospitals. Former Social Care Minister, Norman Lamb, who introduced guidelines to reduce the use of force in hospitals in 2014, stated the findings were ‘shameful’ and ‘extraordinarily demeaning’.
The data, which was obtained by BBC Radio 4’s File on 4 programme, covers both adults and children. Research has also found that instances of face-down or ‘prone’ restraint, which should no longer be used according to government guidelines, has increased from 2,200 cases to more than 3,100 over the same period of time.
A spokesperson from the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, a charity which supports people with severe learning difficulties, commented on the findings, stating: “We are putting people in situations that are causing them distress and that are damaging them – and that’s entirely unacceptable’
A spokesperson of the Department of Health and Social Care has stated: “We are clear that any kind of restraint should only be used as a last resort and we are working to reduce restrictive interventions and improve patient safety through improved monitoring and training”.
Adult social care services faced a £3.5bn funding gap by 2025.
Ally Taft, Partner at Medical Accident Group commented, “These findings highlight a clear patient safety issue. The effects of getting this wrong can be catastrophic, which is why face-down restraint was banned back in 2014. It is of real concern to hear that not only is face-down restraint still being used, but that it is on the increase.”
As a highly experienced firm with expert teams based in Birmingham and Worcester, we have secured awards for many clients following negligent medical treatment. If you or a member of your family have suffered from poor medical treatment, Medical Accident Group can help. Our team of specialist medical negligence solicitors have over 30 years’ experience. We will guide you through the process of making a claim. If you believe you have a claim call the team now on 0800 050 1668.