A University has withdrawn its student nurses from a mental health unit which is under investigation by police. The Edenfield Centre in the grounds of the former Prestwich Hospital in Bury is the focus of a criminal investigation after allegations that patients were abused.
Sources have told the M.E.N. that twenty staff members from the Edenfield Centre, a secure unit for adults, have been suspended. The action follows a dossier of evidence being collated after an undercover reporter from Panorama was embedded in the unit from March to June.
Staff, including, support workers, and registered nurses, were secretly filmed. The footage appeared to show patients being bullied, humiliated, swore at, and taunted.
The film also purports to show inappropriate use of restraint, according to experts and faking of paperwork intended to ensure patient safety. Footage, say Panorama, shows some staff mocking patients, who were also filmed on occasion pinching and slapping them.
Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust which runs Edenfield, says it is taking the allegations "very seriously" and has taken "immediate actions to protect patient safety". They confirmed in a previous statement they had suspended a 'number of staff pending further investigations'.
Now the University of Salford has taken action in the wake of the allegations. A University of Salford spokesperson said: “Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) provides placements for a number of universities and across professions. All of our students who were on placement or due to attend placement at the Edenfield Centre are now being moved to alternatives. The wellbeing of our students is our top priority, and we have been in touch with all affected students to offer support.”
The Edenfield has 11 wards for men and women, and cares for people who are at serious risk of harming themselves or others, including many from the criminal justice system. Around 600 staff care for 200 patients.
The language appearing to have been used by nursing staff in footage to and about patients is foul. It includes: "She's a c**t.", and "Fat b***h." There is also footage of a staff member lying on a wall outside appearing to have a nap in the sunshine while on duty. Another clip appears to show of member of staff tickling a patient - a person the BBC says is a convicted murderer.
A patient called Joanna was filmed apparently being pinched twice by a member of staff and, against the rules, three men are found in one room watching porn. One patient had been kept in a seclusion room with just two teddy bears for a year, it is claimed.
The Trust has commissioned an independent review of Edenfield, and it is closed to new admissions. A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Mental Health Foundation Trust said: "We are taking the allegations raised by Panorama very seriously since the BBC sent them to us earlier this month. We have put in place immediate actions to protect patient safety, which is our utmost priority.
“Since then, senior doctors at the Trust have undertaken clinical reviews of the patients affected, we have suspended a number of staff pending further investigations and we have also commissioned an independent clinical review of the services provided at the Edenfield Centre."
Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust which runs the unit is already under scrutiny after three young people died within nine months at other units at the Prestwich facility.
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