Mental health units dramatically cut use of restrictive practices

Press release
24 September 2019

The use of physical restraint, seclusion and rapid tranquilisation have been dramatically reduced by over half of participating wards since joining an improvement programme led by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Nine months into the 18-month Reducing Restrictive Practices programme – led by the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health – and 21 of the 38 wards have seen reductions, with some wards achieving reductions as big as 88%.

The reductions have been achieved using innovative methods of care, including patients writing their own care plans and an ex-service user coaching staff on how to improve ward culture.

In a series of video interviews, Matron Dadai Dandato, Clinical Nurse Manager Huda Mohamed and Clinical Practice Lead Karen McGirl reflect on how they assessed the service provided by Westferry ward, and then began implementing and evaluating change ideas.



James – an ex-service user – also talks about his involvement with the project. He explains how he’s been coaching staff on the ward to review their approach to setting and enforcing rules within their service. 


“Working with staff on the other side of the fence…. it’s been nice. I feel appreciated, I feel like my voice is being heard. The voice and the opinions that I share open up a new way of thinking for staff and the way they treat those who are still using the services.”

The programme is using a new way of improving patient care and services called Quality Improvement (QI).It focuses on involving those closest to the issue – staff, service users and carers - to identify and test new ideas and uses data to understand which ideas are working. 

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