A scathing Ombudsman’s report published

Vulnerable patients with mental health conditions are being ‘badly let down by the NHS’, causing them and their families ‘needless suffering and distress’, a Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman report, Maintaining momentum; driving improvements in mental healthcare, published in March, suggests. The Ombudsman also found that NHS mental healthcare staff ‘can lack the capacity, skills, and training, to do their job effectively, and do not always have the support they need to learn from mistakes’.

Following an analysis of over 200 mental health complaints upheld by the Ombudsman, the report highlights five ‘common failings that

are compromising patients’ safety and dignity’: l Failure to diagnose and/or treat the patient: One investigation found a woman was treated with anti-psychotic drugs for a psychotic episode but had a life- threatening reaction to them. ‘Her physical symptoms were dismissed and tragically she died’.

l Inappropriate hospital discharge and aftercare. In another case, a young man with a complex history of mental health problems died from a drug overdose after being discharged from the local community mental health service, without a care plan in place.

l Poor risk assessment and safety practices: a young person suffering from bipolar disorder and on the autism spectrum was physically assaulted by another patient in a residential home, ‘causing immense fear and distress’. A risk assessment was not undertaken.

suffering from a psychotic episode was not given sanitary products while menstruating, and was forced to use a plastic cup.

l Poor communication with the patient and/or their family or carers: The report tells how a woman with a history of bipolar disorder had her new- born baby taken from her ‘unnecessarily and without explanation’, causing her ‘immense distress’.

Rob Behrens.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Rob Behrens,

l Not treating patients with dignity and/or infringing human rights. Another investigation found that a woman

Collapsible mattress facilitates inspections

Pineapple Contracts says its Scorpio Collapsible Mattress is designed to prevent windows and viewing panels being blocked by such items, ‘reducing the number and scale of necessary interventions’. It said: “The design of the

mattress responds to client needs to make visual inspections of rooms quicker and safer, protecting both users and staff. ‘Driving for innovation in the challenging environments furniture market’, Pineapple has used a tri-fold design for the Scorpio Collapsible Mattress. Two heat-welded seams have been ergonomically placed across the mattress, without compromising on the comfort of the user, so the mattress cannot hold itself upright. Consequently, the mattress cannot be left to block vision panels,

windows, or doors, and eliminates the added staff concern of ‘going into the unknown’ where a mattress has been used as a barricade. Once collapsed, the mattress shape doubles as a chair on the floor, offering a softer surface as vulnerable users de-escalate. Covered in heavy-duty,

waterproof anti-vandal fabric, the Scorpio Collapsible Mattress can be made using either a Crib 5 or a Crib 7 finish, ‘making it an excellent solution for a range of extra challenging environments

such as seclusion rooms, mental health facilities, prisons, and other places with unpredictable behaviours’.

Pineapple continues to invite customers to its design workshops, enabling customers to directly influence the products being developed.

Widespread ignorance on bipolar disorder

Despite over a third (34 per cent) having direct experience with bipolar disorder, 50 per cent of the British public couldn’t correctly identify the condition in Rethink Mental Illness research undertaken in the run-up to this year’s World Bipolar Day on 31 March.

While common symptoms can include

depression, extreme lethargy, mania, and overactivity, almost a fifth of respondents were unable to spot a single symptom, whereas others mistook traits for different mental health conditions. Bipolar disorder affects around one in every 100 people in the UK, and can manifest itself in many different ways. Forty-four per cent

of respondents correctly noted that living with bipolar disorder often results in heightened mood swings, but 32 per cent wrongly believed that it led individuals to have two entirely separate personalities. Rethink Mental Illness’s research showed that 72 per cent were unaware bipolar disorder could lead to people saying things that were out of character, and a similar number that the illness could lead to compulsive actions, such as out-of- control spending, or putting oneself at risk of harm. Almost a fifth were unable to identify a single symptom, rising to almost a third in those over 55.


said: “This report shows the harrowing impact that failings in mental healthcare can have on patients and their families. Too many patients are not being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, and this is further compounded by poor complaint handling.”

‘Easy installation’ door guard

Intastop, which claims to have introduced the original aluminium door edge guard to the UK market, has added a 10 mm PVC-u Door Edge Guard version to its extensive range, the largest in the UK. The PVC 10 mm Door Edge Guard is fitted with ‘easy-to-replace and vandal- resistant’ intumescent fire and smoke seals. It can be used on the front and back edges of fire-resisting door sets. It has a fire rating of Class ‘O’, BS476 Parts 6 & 7, is tested to EN13501-1:2010, is impact and scratch-resistant, and has anti- bacterial properties.

“Ensuring the integrity of doors and

fire doors in particular continues to be a high priority for all facilities managers and building maintenance teams, and with our busy and often heavy workloads, simplicity is the key to successful schemes to protect doors and building infrastructures,” said Marketing director, Sarah Barsby.

The 10 mm PVC-u Door Guard is available in a range of colours and finishes.

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