Mental Health Patients (Children)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 24th April 2007.

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Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Shadow Minister (Children) 2:30 pm, 24th April 2007

Yesterday in Committee Room 16, in front of MPs and Members of the Lords, two teenage girls, Lois and Antonia, gave harrowing accounts of their experiences in acute mental wards. Those were adult, often mixed-sex, wards, which contained people who had committed homicides, in which the girls were subjected to sexual abuse and invasion of privacy, and received little or no age-appropriate treatment from inappropriately qualified staff and no help with their education. On behalf of the hundreds of children placed in those wards—the number is growing—they begged for the age-appropriate amendments to the Mental Health Bill to be retained. They do not think that the Lords amendments would prove to be a straitjacket, because they would provide for age-appropriate treatment and allow for emergency admission. Why are they wrong?


Posted on 26 Apr 2007 3:38 pm (Report this annotation)

I was present at this committee meeting and heard these 2 harrowing accounts from Lois and Antonia these 2 girls should be applauded for being brave enough to speak up at such a meeting. If only we could have heard from the many other youngsters across the country who have undergone a similar experience.

The need for adequate facilities and qualified staff for the young is crucial, and as the figures for the young in this system is going up they should be readily available, and local, these young are the future

I would have liked to have raised the point, that most of these wards are not suitable or appropriate for adults, as anyone who is a patient is extremely vulnerable and the utmost care and attention needs to be given, not the case with under staffing and far too many agency staff who have not established any sort of relationship with those they are there to care for.

I still say that in this day and age we should be providing single sex accommodation across the board and that women's wards should only have female staff and the same for men, men looking after men, which would at least alleviate some of the abuse that is committed.

Whether the incident is committed by a fellow patient and or a member of staff, there should be emergency rape kits and evidence kits on the wards so when an assault has been committed protocol is set into motion allowing evidence to be taken, photographs of bruising, blood, semen and the state of the room as an absolute minimum.

The following 19 rape allegations are just the tip of the iceberg, as how many incidents went unreported during 2003 to 2005 (Read Mind’s Ward Watch)

As we know from community care magazine and Louis Appleby

Most of the 19 rape allegations made in psychiatric wards from 2003 to 2005 are subject to "significant doubt", the government has claimed.

Mental health "tsar" Louis Appleby said "after collecting information from local trusts he doubted whether 13 of the incidents actually happened as several allegations were made "when the patients' mental state was severely disturbed"

Being mad should not automatically make you a liar or because you are "severely disturbed" you do not know fact from fiction there is no medical proof of this is there?

You maybe severely disturbed because you have been sexually abused and no one is listening to you, these patients are being subjected to discrimination and exclusion, we do not accept having less rights because of our diagnosis, many patients who have been raped on wards believe the use of hallucinatory drugs is a deliberate procedure to make allegations they make doubted and difficult to prove or follow up.

We are human beings who need to be heard and respected, no matter our diagnosis, ethnicity, creed, religion or age!!

How many people have been prosecuted for abusing a patient on a psychiatric ward from 2003 to 2005 or for that matter the last decade in comparison to all the allegations for that period?

Gavin Ayling
Posted on 26 Apr 2007 11:26 pm (Report this annotation)

Harrowing is definitely the word. I am moved by your comment and by what Tim Loughton has said. These are the issues that motivate people and that have clear, unarguable rights and wrongs... These are the things that should not require debate but concerted effort.