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Mental health wards 'frightening' patients

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Mental health service users are often detained on wards which are unsafe and do not meet their basic rights to dignity, a mental health watchdog warned today.

In its twelfth biennial report on detained service users, the Mental Health Act Commission warned there were serious concerns about the most vulnerable patients, especially women and young people who are confined on mixed-sex adult wards.

It found that 37% of wards were running at over 100% occupancy rate and staffing levels were not always adequate.

Commission chief executive Professor Chris Heginbotham said: ‘Patients admitted to hospital under compulsory powers should be able to expect that they will be cared for in a safe and welcoming environment. Sadly this is too often not the case.

‘Too often we are shocked by what we see happening to patients in hospital,’ he added.

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