We respond to Channel 4 Dispatches on safety in mental health hospitals

11 October 2022

Rethink Mental Illness responds to Channel 4’s Dispatches - Hospital Undercover: Are Our Wards Safe?

Brian Dow, Deputy Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness, said:

"The scenes broadcast in Dispatches were deeply disturbing. We saw people being desperately let down by NHS mental health services in Essex, with their time in hospital forcing their mental health to deteriorate and threatening their safety. Heart-breaking testimony of the families who have lost loved ones shows us why we cannot continue as things are.

"These were not isolated incidents: The Essex Mental Health Independent Inquiry is already investigating matters surrounding the deaths of mental health inpatients across NHS Trusts in Essex between 2000 and 2020. This episode of Dispatches comes less than two weeks after BBC’s Panorama aired equally upsetting footage from an undercover investigation at a mental health hospital in Manchester.

"We welcome the announcement of an urgent nationwide safety review by NHS England. At the same time we also want to see reform of the Mental Health Act prioritised by the government. This needs to ensure that people detained under the Act are treated as individuals and that they are supported in the least restrictive way possible."