Many people will have watched the undercover BBC Panorama documentary which aired in September 2022 exposing Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH), and the treatment of patients under the care of one of the centres in the Trust.
The programme exposed high levels of abuse, humiliation and bullying of patients across the Edenfield Centre in Prestwich, Greater Manchester. Part of GMMH, the Edenfield Centre is a provider of specialist mental health care and treatment for many of society’s most vulnerable and complex patients.
Farleys’ specialist inquest team currently represent a number of families where loved ones have been under the care of GMMH.
In response to the appalling treatment of patients highlighted by Panorama, NHS England commissioned an independent review to understand what took place, how and why. The review also went beyond the issues highlighted by Panorama in exploring other areas of concern regarding the quality of care within GMMH.
Today the report has been published and includes input from patients, their families and staff on their experiences of the Edenfield Centre and the Trust. The report reveals a number of missed opportunities and makes a number of significant recommendations for organisational learning.
Full access to the report and its findings can be found here.
In October 2022, an inquest took place into the death of Rowan Thompson who died whilst an inpatient on the Gardener Unit at Prestwich Hospital. This is a medium secure unit providing mental health services to adolescent patients. Rowan’s inquest revealed a number of failings in their care and treatment which led to a conclusion of neglect and the Coroner issuing a Prevention of Future Deaths Report. The full details of the inquest and its findings can be read here.
As part of the NHS England Independent Review, the Panel took the opportunity to meet with Rowan’s father and discuss his experiences and feedback about Rowan’s care. The family are extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to contribute to a Review which will hopefully lead to significant positive changes in the future.
Marc Thompson, Rowan’s father commented on the findings of the Review:-
“It is a good report and GMMH, as identified by Prof Shanley, still are trying to put reputation before patient care. The fact he also addresses failings in QCC supervision is good.
“The only hope I have is changes to procedures take place; more staff still following bad policies and procedures means more mistake not better patient care.”
Charlie Millers also died whilst an inpatient on the Junction 17 ward at Prestwich Hospital in 2020. The inquest into his death is due to take place in April of this year. The Article 2 inquest into Charlie’s death will be held with a Jury and will focus on the care and treatment afforded to him by GMMH in the 5 months prior to his death.
The families are represented by our Inquest team members Kelly Darlington, Partner and Alice Wood, Solicitor, and Ciara Bartlam, Counsel of Garden Court North Chambers. They are also supported by Senior Caseworker, Jodie Anderson at INQUEST.
“Bereaved families called upon both CQC and NHS England to inspect and investigate Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and specifically Prestwich Hospital long before the scandalous abuse revelations were revealed in the Edenfield Panorama.
“It is deeply concerning that it took undercover reporters to expose such widespread abuse in order for an independent review to be commissioned. This demonstrates a total lack of oversight and accountability for failings in mental health institutions and a ‘culture that valued operational performance above clinical quality.’
“We welcome this review, and expect urgent action to ensure patients under GMMH are safely cared for.”
On behalf of the families, we would like to thank Professor Shanley and his team in giving the families the opportunity to engage in the investigation process to ensure that the voices of both patients and their loved ones are heard. All too often, they are not afforded the opportunity to give meaningful participation in such important investigations to ensure learning and accountability.