RCPsych responds to BBC’s File on Four programme on the escalation of restraint used on people with intellectual disabilities

Statement / comment
12 November 2020

BBC’s File on 4 programme (10th November) states there were more than 38,000 reported incidents of restraint of people with intellectual disabilities in 2019 – an increase in data gathered in 2017.

In response our Chair of the Faculty of the Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability , Dr Ken Courtenay said:

“It’s of great concern to see a rise in the use of restraint in 2019. Psychiatrists understand the shortcomings of the system that has led to such practices.”

“Restraint of all forms should be avoided. In extreme situations restraint must only be used as part of a robust care plan agreed with the person with the aim of preventing harm.”

“File on 4 highlights how people’s lives can be transformed with the right support delivered by caring staff with the skills and knowledge to support people effectively in specialist services or in their homes. Unfortunately, such support is not currently available to many people with intellectual disabilities and Autistic people. We agree with the Rt. Hon. Harriet Harman MP that radical change needs to happen to avoid perpetuating the current system of hospital care instead of good community support.”

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