Where are the voices of the healthcare assistants in mental health?

Posted on September 9, 2013

There has been a great deal of concern expressed about standards of care within the NHS as well as in private hospitals and social care settings. Events at Stafford hospital, Winterbourne View and elsewhere have quite rightly provoked a storm of outrage and national soul-searching. Last month, two healthcare assistants (HCAs) were jailed for slapping elderly patients and, in one incident, holding a sheet over the head of an 87-year-old woman and telling her she was dead.

That such active and deliberate abuse should take place at the hands of professionals in an NHS hospital in the 21st century is profoundly shocking. So, too, are reports of neglect of patients' basic physical needs – of people left lying in soiled sheets, without access to water, in filthy wards and so on. However rare these incidents, it is not surprising that such reports result in widespread anguish. What does it say about us, we ask, about the values of our society, that we allow our most vulnerable citizens to be treated in this way? Clearly it's a question that requires urgent attention. But what is striking is how concerns about standards of mental healthcare have been almost entirely absent from the debate.

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Source material from The Guardian

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