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Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust

Trust claims pressures forced it to use seclusion areas as bedrooms as 'last resort'

Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust has been issued with a warning notice by the Care Quality Commission after an inspection team found seclusion rooms were being used as bedrooms.

Inspectors visited St Ann’s Hospital in June and identified that seclusion rooms were being used inappropriately to admit patients when bedrooms were unavailable.

Upon a return visit in November the inspectors found that this practice was still going on. Two seclusion rooms and the section 136 suite - a designated area for people detained for up to 72 hours under section 136 of the Mental Health Act while awaiting a formal assessment - were being used as bedrooms.

Their report said: “These rooms were not designed to be used as bedrooms and this practice compromised the dignity and wellbeing of people who used the service.”

The warning notice must be met by March.

Staff told the team that the door to the seclusion room was unlocked when it was used as a bedroom. However, there was no handle on the inside of the door so patients were unable to obtain privacy. If the door was closed from the outside they would be locked in.

One of the rooms was filmed by CCTV cameras that could not be switched off by staff.

Between August and November the seclusion rooms were used as bedrooms for 30 nights.  

Mary Sexton, the trust’s director of nursing, quality and governance, said that due to “significant pressure” on inpatient beds seclusion rooms had been used as an “absolute last resort”.

She added: “However, this is clearly not good clinical practice and we have ceased the use of seclusion rooms for this purpose.”


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Readers' comments (9)

  • tinkerbell

    what about the 'dignity and wellbeing' of those who had nowhere else to go to receive help due to the decimation of mental health services. Have we all gone completely barking mad that we can't see that an adhoc solution was found to 'help' someone because otherwise they would have been left helpless and stranded.

    Nothing's making any sense to me anymore.

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  • With the lack of beds due to hospital closures, due we are told to the increased effectiveness of modern medication and increased expenditure in community care (lol) this news is not surprising.
    With the use of bunk beds we could double capacity overnight! I am off to buy shares in Ikea!

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  • tinkerbell

    I bagsy the top bunk.

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  • my hospital had bunk beds in sets of four. my query how you were expected to carry out CPR if a pt. arrested remained unanswered. I wouldn't like to take responsibility for dragging a patient suffering from a cardiac arrest from the top bunk to the floor just in case it contravened the professional code of conduct.

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  • michael stone

    tinkerbell | 17-Jan-2014 2:07 pm

    [almost] Nothing's making any sense to me anymore [as well]: how large is this club, that you and I seem to be members of ?

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  • tinkerbell

    michael stone | 18-Jan-2014 9:40 am

    Widespread, I hope. Otherwise the plonkers are going to rule the world.

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  • Unfortunately this is not unique in Mental Health Trusts at the moment and I know in our Trust, Section 136 suites are regularly used as bedrooms, and we have had "emergency" camp beds in use also in recent months.

    Too many bed closures equals not enough beds.

    Is it me, or should some of the "Ruling Classes" not have thought about that before the current situation arose ?????

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  • Odd that a seclusion room with walls and a door giving privacy isn't ok, but a trolley in a corridor apparently is.....

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  • looks like the nursing accommodation we had in the 1970s

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