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Archive May 2019

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is calling for an independent review of every person who is being held in segregation in mental health wards for children and young people and wards for people with a learning disability or autism. These reviews should examine the quality of care, the safeguards to protect the person and the plans for discharge, the regulator says.

CQC makes the recommendation in its interim report published today, in which it shares early findings from its review of restraint, prolonged seclusion and segregation for people with a mental health problem, a learning disability or autism.

The review, which was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock, also highlights the need for a better system of care for people with a learning disability or autism who are, or are at risk of, being hospitalised and segregated.

From an information request sent to providers CQC was told of 62 people who were in segregation. This included 42 adults and 20 children and young people – some as young as 11 years old. Sixteen people had been in segregation for a year or more – one person had spent almost a decade in segregation. The longest period spent in segregation by a child or young person was 2.4 years.

CQC has so far visited and assessed the care of 39 people in segregation, most of whom had an autism diagnosis.

Reasons for prolonged time in segregation included delayed discharge from hospital due to there being no suitable package of care available in a non-hospital setting. For some, the commissioners had found it difficult to find a suitable placement.

The safety of other patients or staff and inability to tolerate living alongside others were the most common reasons providers gave for why people were in segregation. In some cases, staff believed that the person’s quality of life was better in segregation than in the less predictable environment of the open ward.

Some of the wards were not suitable environments for people with autism and many staff lacked the necessary training and skills to work with people with autism who also have complex needs and challenging behaviour.

Full story: Mental Health Today

A coroner has called for universities to destigmatise mental health issues after concluding that a student took his own life after facing dismissal from his course and the prospect of losing his accommodation.

First-year Bristol University student Ben Murray, 19, fell from a bridge after receiving a note telling him he was going to be dismissed for missing lectures and an exam.

The senior coroner Maria Voisin said that more work needed to be done to make sure students felt they could declare their mental health issues without fear of missing out on a place at university.

Murray, who was studying English, is one of 12 students at Bristol who have killed themselves or are suspected of taking their own lives since September 2016.

During his inquest at Avon coroner’s court, Murray’s parents, James and Janet, said the university had failed their son.

They believe Murray was troubled and asked for help from the university but nobody saw him face to face to address his concerns.

On Thursday, Voisin ruled that Ben died from multiple injuries as a result of suicide. She said: “It is clear from the act that lead to Ben’s death that he intended to take his life.

“There were a number of issues in his personal life that support this evidence. His place had been withdrawn and he owed a significant debt for his accommodation.

“I will be writing to Bristol University, the Department for Education, the minister of suicide prevention [Jackie Doyle-Price] and Ucas [which helps process university applications].”

The coroner continued: “Bristol University have clearly made many fundamental changes to their practices since Ben’s death, and they should be praised for that. But there needs to be a move towards de-stigmatising mental health.

“Currently, only 37% of students [with a mental health issue] disclose it on their Ucas form or to their uni. More students need to be assured that disclosing this will not affect their place.”

Fully story: Guardian

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