British Hospital Accused of Locking Up Elderly Patients in Their Rooms or Beds

International   Steven Ertelt   Jan 7, 2014   |   5:39PM    Washington, DC

Britain’s National Health Service has been derided in the United States as the future of Obamacare and the government-run health service in England is about to get another international black eye due to a scathing new report issued by the London Telegraph.

According to the newspaper, a whistleblower alleges that a British hospital routinely locks up elderly and vulnerable patients to their beds and confining them to their rooms when they get upset that the understaffed medical facility doesn’t help them walk the hallways or go outside.

John Marchant, the former head of security at Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, told the newspaper that staff routinely does this when patients are being a “nuisance.”

“In many cases we are talking about patients known as ‘bed blockers’, elderly people unable to return home or with no residential care unit to go to,” Marchant said. “In these cases detention is being used simply because the patient become so frustrated at not even being able to go out for a walk in the hospital grounds because there are no staff to accompany them.”

“Some would go back to their rooms if you asked them, but others would have to be closed in and it would be very distressing for them,” he added.

From the report:

In an interview with The Telegraph, Mr Marchant said his security guards had become so concerned about the practice that in one instance, they had refused to restrain a child and warned bosses the action was illegal

He also alleged that pensioners had been subject to restraints when all they wanted was to walk around a ward, or chat with fellow patients.

The Department of Health last night ordered the Care Quality Commission, the health regulator, to carry out an investigation into the claims.
“These are very serious allegations and we have passed this information to the Care Quality Commission for further investigation,” a spokesman said.

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“We are absolutely clear that physical restraint should only ever be used as a last resort and it should be used for the shortest time possible. There are strict conditions that must be met before any patient is restrained or detained.”

Charities said they were appalled by the “outrageous” treatment of some of the NHS’s most vulnerable patients.

Earlier this year the Dudley Group was was one of 14 hospitals criticised by Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS’s medical director, after he investigated unusually high death rates at the trust.