NHS trust investigates online pictures of psychiatric patients and
by Adam James
NHS trust has launched an investigation after some of its psychiatric
staff and patients were pictured online.
patient used his mobile phone to take dozens of pictures which he
then posted on the video website, Youtube.com.
voluntary patient, Martin Smith, took the photos between October
and November at the Arden psychiatric ward at Stepping Hill Hospital
in Stockport, Greater Manchester.
is the first time such a series of photographs from inside mental
health units have been displayed online.
images, accompanied by a soundtrack by David Gray, include those
of the patient's psychiatrist, staff and other patients.
Pennine Care NHS Trust said the posting of the photographs online
Mr Smith, now discharged, said he is undecided whether or not he
will withdraw the series of images, entitled Mad October.
terms and conditions state that those who post images onto its website
do so at their own risk.
largely evocative images taken by Mr Smith include those of liquid
medication lined up ready to be taken, patients playing pool, chatting
to staff and sleeping on sofas.
one photo in the two-minute series stands out. It is that of a patient
standing next to a ward bed with two 10-inch hunting knives.
Mr Smith, who had been treated for bipolar disorder, told psychminded.co.uk
that he had decided to display this particular picture because he
had been disturbed that someone could have such knives with them
in a ward treating vulnerable people.
"It shocked me that this happened, as it would shock anyone,”
it was a one-off, and I know staff can not search people because
it’s an invasion of privacy. But it [the policy of not searching]
did not work in this case."
patient pictured with the knives told psychminded.co.uk that he
has a small collection of knives, and had no intention of harming
anyone. He has also been discharged.
The trust said it prohibits the videoing of service users or the
use of mobile phones on its premises.
"This is in part to protect service users from agreeing to
being filmed at a time when they may be vulnerable," said the
specific concern is the image of a male holding two knives. It is
difficult to clearly establish whether this is in the mental health
unit, however, we are treating this seriously and are carrying out
a full investigation."
Real life: Images, above and below, taken at Arden psychiatric
ward, Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, Greater Manchester
One name has been changed in this report
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