An upcoming BBC Panorama investigation is due to air this evening (28 September) at 21:00 on BBC One which will look into vulnerable patients at risk. Panorama “Undercover Hospital: Patients at Risk has found evidence that a secure NHS psychiatric hospital is failing to protect some of its most vulnerable patients.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are already investigating the care of patients at the Edenfield Centre, located on Prestwich Hospital site, following BBC Panorama’s report, where an investigative journalist was sent undercover at the unit. The unit provides secure treatment for men and women in Greater Manchester.

Chief Superintendent Michaela Kerr, Head of GMP’s Public Protection Department said: “It goes without saying that these allegations are concerning. Since they were brought to our attention, we have been working with partner agencies to ensure the safeguarding of vulnerable individuals.

“We’ve also obtained the information required to open criminal investigations and enquiries are ongoing to ensure all offences are recorded and those involved identified.”

A Spokesperson for Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, who run the Edenfield Centre, has said: “We can confirm that BBC Panorama has contacted the trust following research it conducted into the Edenfield Centre. … Immediate action has been taken to address the issues raised and to ensure patient safety, which is our utmost priority.”

The NHS Trust has suspended a number of staff pending further investigations, after allegations that patients were mistreated at the unit.

Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust is already under scrutiny following the deaths of three young people who died within nine months at other units at the Prestwich facility. Rowan Thompson died in October 2020, followed by Charlie Millers in December 2020 and Ania Sohail in June 2021.

Farleys Solicitors represent the families of Rowan Thompson, whose inquest is listed to begin on 24th October 2022, and Charlie Millers, whose inquest is listed to begin on 30th January 2023, both at Greater Manchester North (Rochdale) Coroner’s Court.

There are concerns around systemic issues regarding the observation of patients. The deaths led to campaigners calling on the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to inspect the service. The charity INQUEST are also supporting the families of Rowan and Charlie and have written to the CQC to express their concern.

Earlier this year, following the families’ requests for NHS England to provide an independent report, the NHS Trust commissioned an external report into the three deaths, which is due to be available to the Coroners involved with the inquests on or around 30th September 2022, though the Trust do not intend to publish the report.

Here at Farleys, our specialist inquest department regularly represent families at inquests who have lost loved ones following a battle with their mental health. Depending on the circumstances of the case, this is often an area within which families are eligible for Legal Aid funding, covering the costs of representation at their inquest.

If you too have lost a loved one in similar tragic circumstances and are seeking inquest representation, please do contact the team here at Farleys. Our solicitors will do everything within their power to assist you at this extremely difficult time and to ensure the inquest delivers the answers you require, which may go some way to assist you in dealing with your grief. Call the team today on 0845 287 0939,  submit your enquiry online or talk to us using our online chat below