Mental health units scale back on physical restraint and tranquilisation

The use of restrictive practices on a mental health ward at Ipswich Hospital has been scaled back Pi

The use of restrictive practices on a mental health ward at Ipswich Hospital has been scaled back Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Mental health units in Norfolk and Suffolk have scaled back the use of physical restraint, seclusion and rapid tranquilisation on patients.

So-called ‘restrictive practices’ – used in mental health inpatient settings to protect the person restrained and others from harm – is an area of care that has proven difficult to improve in recent years, with more than 100,000 instances in England over the last year.

However, after Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust participated in a 18-month voluntary programme with the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the use of the practices has fallen significantly.

At the end of the scheme, Waveney Ward in Norwich’s Hellesdon Hospital, Lark ward in Ipswich Hospital and Great Yarmouth Acute Service reduced their use of restrictive practices by 76%, 58% and 46% respectively.

The decreases were all far in excess of the national aim of 33%.


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Dr Amar Shah, national lead for the Mental Health Safety Improvement programme, said: “We’re really proud of everyone working in these wards who has contributed to achieving these outstanding results.”

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