Rethink Mental Illness responds to BBC Panorama investigation

29 September 2022

On September 28th, BBC Panorama broadcast their undercover investigation into the poor treatment of people at a secure mental health hospital. Here's our response to what we saw in the programme.

Brian Dow, Deputy Chief Executive, Rethink Mental Illness:

“No matter the circumstances, people in secure care should be able to expect a high standard of care and be treated with dignity and respect to support their recovery. Instead, the BBC Panorama documentary showed us harrowing scenes of abuse which left some patients feeling vulnerable, scared and becoming more unwell as a result.

“This is not the first exposé of poor practice in inpatient settings. It again reinforces the need for urgent investment and reform. Services are nothing without the people that deliver them and the programme was a painful reminder of the importance of investing in staff to create a highly trained, compassionate workforce. It's also crucial to listen to people’s concerns about their treatment, so they can be urgently addressed.

“To ensure reform is delivered, the government must respond by leading a rapid review into mental health inpatient services. This needs to explore the historic underfunding of mental health services, the inspection regime and its independence, and the workforce crisis – crucially addressing how to retain highly valued staff during a cost-of-living crisis. If the government fails to address these issues they will continue to conspire together as demand rises, placing greater pressure on services and staff. There is a danger that the accepted reality of inpatient care in secure settings is one of failure, but government must now seize the opportunity to show this is not inevitable.”