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    112: Footies #6: Hospital Passing-The-Buck

    enJune 10, 2024

    Podcast Summary

    • Children's mental health hospitals in UKInvestigations reveal horrific experiences of immediate restraint, injuries, and insufficient staffing in some privately run children's mental health hospitals in the UK, with one death now under police investigation

      The mental health care system in the UK, particularly in privately run children's mental health hospitals, is facing systemic safety issues. Rebecca Thomas, health correspondent for The Independent, shared her experience of investigating such matters, starting with an expose on a group of private hospitals where patients reported horrific experiences. These included immediate restraining of children, causing injuries and bruises, and a lack of sufficient staffing. The investigation led to the discovery of dozens of similar stories. One notable incident was a young girl's death in one of the units, which is now under police investigation. The hospitals in question were previously owned by Four Seasons but are now under the ActiveCare Group. The number of patients willing to share their stories grew as the reporting progressed, highlighting the urgency of addressing these systemic safety issues in the mental health care system.

    • Healthcare NegligenceStories of subpar care at hospitals have led to numerous clinical negligence claims, resulting in devastating consequences for patients with disabilities, including loss of ability to speak and walk.

      A large number of patients have come forward with stories of subpar care at various hospitals, leading to numerous clinical negligence claims against the healthcare group. One particularly heart-wrenching story involves a 27-year-old man with a learning disability and autism, who spent a decade being shuffled between inappropriate wards and lost the ability to talk and walk as a result. The journalist, who spoke to over 50 patients across two decades, found it challenging to communicate with the nonverbal man in a darkened room. Despite the difficulties, these stories have sparked a larger campaign against the healthcare group, with numerous lawsuits in progress.

    • Mental health care systemThe mental health care system requires a multifaceted approach to address the root causes of poor care, including the lack of appropriate care in residential homes, the responsibility of commissioners for funding and oversight, and historical underfunding and deprioritization by the government.

      The complex issue of inadequate mental health care leading to unfortunate situations, such as Nicholas's, involves a combination of factors. These include the lack of appropriate care in residential homes with abusive staff, the responsibility of commissioners for funding and oversight, and the historical underfunding and deprioritization of mental health services by the government. The systemic failure results in individuals like Nicholas being let down, leading to the question of who should be held accountable. While it's essential to address the providers of poor care, the commissioners, NHS, and local authorities also hold significant responsibility for the allocation of resources. Ultimately, a multifaceted approach is required to address the root causes and improve the mental health care system for those in need.

    • Sexual abuse in mental health inpatient carePrivate mental health institutions may pose a higher risk for sexual abuse due to the vulnerability of patients, power dynamics, and lack of proper follow-through on allegations.

      Mental health inpatient care, particularly in private institutions, can be a risky environment for sexual abuse due to the vulnerability of patients, power dynamics between staff and patients, and lack of proper follow-through on allegations. This issue is not unique to private institutions, but the lack of public sector governance in private units may make it harder to identify and address. Reporting on these stories can be challenging due to the need for thorough fact-checking and potential resistance from institutions to open investigations.

    • Investigative journalism in healthcareInvestigative journalism in healthcare is a challenging process that requires extensive verification to ensure accuracy, but it can lead to significant change through holding institutions accountable and bringing about positive outcomes for individuals and communities.

      Investigative journalism, particularly in the field of healthcare, can be a challenging and time-consuming process. Journalists often rely on patient stories and whistleblowers to uncover potential issues, which requires extensive verification to ensure accuracy. In the case of Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi's campaign, it took approximately 8 months to verify claims and sources for various stories, including those about Huntercomb and Nicholas. However, the results can be significant. For instance, the notorious Home to Come group hospital was forced to close due to regulatory action following the campaign's reports. Additionally, Nicholas, a patient featured in the campaign, will soon receive funding for a place of his own with a care package, which is a first for him. The campaign put pressure on the authorities, and while the credit cannot be solely attributed to the journalists, their coverage played a crucial role in bringing about change. Overall, investigative journalism is a powerful tool for holding institutions accountable and bringing about positive change.

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