professionals launch scheme to improve psychiatric wards
By Angela Hussain
health professionals have united to launch a scheme to improve inpatient
It follows a string of highly critical
reports on the state of psychiatric wards.
In July, the National Patient Safety
Agency reported there had been 19 alleged rapes of patients in NHS
mental health settings between 2003 and 2005. In May last year a
Healthcare Commission audit of violence on inpatient psychiatric
and learning disability wards found 78% of nurses, 41% of clinical
staff and 36% of service users said that they have either been personally
attacked, threatened or made to feel unsafe.
response, The Royal College of Psychiatrists, the British Psychological
Society, the College of Occupational Therapists and the Royal College
of Nursing are co-managing a
psychiatric ward accreditation scheme,
entitled Accreditation for Acute In-patient Mental Health Services
professional bodies say “something
must be done” to improve wards.
staff on a particular ward must first make a self-assessment of
Staff check themselves against more than 100 measures. They cover
everything from staff training, to patient advocacy provision, to
making sure that on the day a patient is admitted and well enough
they are notified who their primary nurse is, and how to arrange
to meet with them.
This self-review will
be followed by a visit from staff from other wards participating
in the accreditation scheme
Wards will then be, at
best, judged “excellent”
and, at worse, "a significant threat to patient safety, rights
or dignity and/or would breach the law.”
users will be "centrally” involved in assessing wards,
say the scheme's organisers.
is for four years, but is subject to regular self-review.
Up to now around 20 wards have participated
in a pilot of AIMS
Organisers say AIMS differs from
other inspection systems, such as that by the Healthcare Commission,
because it involves “local ownership” and engagement
of all relevant groups.
Dr Paul Lelliott, director of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’
research and training unit, said: “AIMS will create an incentive
for managers in mental health services to undertake a sustained
programme of improvements to their wards, and lead to the sharing
of good ideas between staff in different parts of the country.”
AIMS is funded by subscriptions from participating mental health
25, 2005: One third of mental health staff have threatened to use
medication or seclusion to control psychiatric patients' behaviour
- findings released in Healthcare Commission audit exposing culture
of violence on wards
Feb 7, 2005: Compassion
not compulsion - psychiatric treatment by force amounts to state-sponsored
violence, says Rufus May.
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