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Patient Safety Congress: Mental health nurses fear 'puts patient at risk'

A fear and lack of knowledge around mental health and human rights legislation could put patient safety at risk, delegates have been warned.

Malcolm Rae, lead officer for the National Institute for Mental Health England, said nurses were reluctant to intervene in patient’s behaviour as a result of their lack of confidence.

Mr Rae said: 'Staff may lack confidence and feel threatened and challenged by patient empowerment.

‘Emphasis on rights might make some staff more reluctant to be more assertive and knowledge of the mental health act should feature in training plans.’

He said that doing nothing to improve patient safety was not an option and urged mental health nurses to be more proactive in bringing about safeguards for patients by listening but by also being assertive.


Readers' comments (2)

  • What rubbish! Mental health nurses do not have a fear or lack of knowledge around mental health and human rights knowledge this is our everyday work. If nurses are not being assertive or proactive it is because we are working in unfit environments with staff shortages. This is what puts patients safety at risk.

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  • It is unwise to react without having full possesion of the facts and the full text of my presentation, which I am willing to send if you wish. The point I made is that there are a variety of reasons why staff are sometimes reluctant to intervene . there is plenty of evidence that a failure to proactively intervene resulted in Serious Incidents. I described a range of factors including uncertainty re patient rights v duty of care responsibilities to maintain safety.I had been asked to address concerns expressed by nurses afraid of harmful reactions or complaints along with a range of other reasons by the NPSA. as they are concerned following SUI's. I hope this helps to clarify.

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