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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

College responds to Panorama investigation, Undercover Care: The Abuse Exposed

Embargoed until 01 June 2011

Commenting on the Panorama investigation into abuse at a unit for people with learning disbailities (Undercover Care: The Abuse Exposed, shown on BBC1 on 31 May 2011), Dr Ian Hall, chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Faculty of the Psychiatry of Learning Disablity, said:

"The practices shown in the Panorama documentary are appalling, and must never be used when supporting people with learning disability. People with learning disability should always be treated with dignity and respect.  If they talk about being treated badly, then this must always be taken seriously, by everyone, including hospital managers and regulators.

"People with learning disability do sometimes behave in a way that challenges services and carers. Treating people with dignity and respect goes a long way to preventing such behaviour. Where such behaviour does occur, there are established good practice therapeutic guidelines for managing it. There is absolutely no place for punishment, or inhuman or degrading treatment in the management of such behaviour."

In June 2007, the Royal College of Psychiatrists published a College Report detailing good practice guidelines for supporting people with learning disabilities who are at risk of receiving abusive or restrictive practices:

CR144 - Challenging Behaviour: A Unified Approach.

For further information, please contact:
Sarah Nevins
Press & Social Media Officer
Telephone: 020 3701 2543
Claire McLoughlin
Media & Communications Manager 
Telephone: 020 3701 2544
Out of hours contact number: 07860 755896


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