NHS Providers' response to Seni's Law

07 December 2021

Commenting on the new law to prevent inappropriate use of force in mental health settings, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said:

"We welcome the introduction of Seni's Law which aims to prevent inappropriate use of force in mental health settings while ensuring the provision of high quality care.

"Coercive measures, including the use of force through restraint, have long been commonplace in mental health services to prevent a patient from causing harm to others or themselves. However, we know from a series of investigations and studies that restraint can lead to patient injury and even death.

"We fully agree that restraint should only be used as a last resort and welcome further support for trusts and other providers to reduce the use of force in mental health services.

"However, any new guidance should take into account the environment in which trusts are operating. Mental health trusts and staff are facing growing demand, often with increased acuity and complexity. They are also facing deep seated financial pressures. It is vital that any new guidance is accompanied by improved resourcing to ensure adequate training and sufficient staffing to support the delivery of a safe service.

"While day-to-day responsibility for quality of care sits with hospital managers and staff, shared learning and effort is needed across the health and care system in order to address the inappropriate use of restrictive practices.

"How mental health services and their partners in the wider system are resourced, commissioned and funded needs to improve the current quality and system of care for individuals across the country."

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