Use of 'restrictive practices' at mental health clinic in Sandwell falls

Physical restraint, seclusion and rapid tranquilisation has been "dramatically reduced" by a mental health ward in the Black Country, chiefs have said.

Restrictive practices – used to protect the person restrained and others – has fallen by 45 per cent at the MacArthur Centre in Heath Lane Hospital.

The West Bromwich-based centre cut down the figure after signing up for an 18-month improvement programme led by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

It means the service reduced their use of restrictive practices by 45 per cent – cutting their average monthly use from 32.4 to 17.7 – far exceeding the national aim of 33 per cent.

Dr Amar Shah, national lead for the mental health safety improvement programme, said: "We’re really proud of everyone at the MacArthur Centre who has contributed to achieving these outstanding results.

"They’ve shown that dramatic improvements to quality of care can happen when staff and service users have the freedom to come together to develop and test creative ideas.

"This is the first time we’ve used quality improvement at a national scale in England, and the MacArthur Centre demonstrates how effective this can be.

Interventions

"The college has produced free resources which will enable mental health wards across the country to learn from this work, and test out the ideas that have been shown to make a difference in reducing the use of restrictive practices."

Figures from the NHS showed a total of 104,931 recorded cases of restrictive interventions took place between 2018-2019 – with the college working to help reduce the figure.

Methods including employing an activities coordinator, identifying ward environment champions, and reviewing the use of blanket restrictions have all helped to reduce the numbers.

Cath Gamble, professional lead for mental health at the Royal College of Nursing, added: "Mental health nurses have led the way to find solutions to make wards safer.

"Improvements around the use of restrictive practices would not be possible without them driving the action. They have taken on board the ideas in the Reducing Restrictive Practices programme and implemented them in a way that vastly improves inpatient wards.

"Even a small step, like changing the way they communicate and structure ward activities, makes a big difference."

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