Staff at mental health facility to wear body-cams after alleged assaults on female patients

Goodmayes Hospital in Barley Lane where Nelft is also based. Picture: Ken Mears

Goodmayes Hospital – Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Staff at Goodmayes Hospital are to wear body cameras after allegations of serious assault against female patients. 

Three assaults were alleged at the mental health facility, which is run by the North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT). 

Redbridge Council's health and wellbeing board heard on November 30 that the trust did not initially report the incidents to the authority due to an alleged culture of secrecy and its “urgent review” following the alleged incidents found staff and patients to be at risk of “violence and aggression”. 

John Goldup, chair of Redbridge Council’s independent safeguarding adults board, told councillors on the health and wellbeing board that there had been a “major issue about safety and quality of care” at the hospital but the “robustness” of the trust’s response was “extremely encouraging”.

Measures taken include “large scale redeployment of staff”, hiring a full-time safeguarding professional and daily visits by advocates from mental health charity Mind. 

He said: “The evidence of patients being abused – the way in which those events came to light – I do think is very concerning.

“The low level of safeguarding concerns being raised from such a unit, particularly in relation to patient-on-patient aggression, should have raised alarm bells."

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A new CCTV system has been installed and staff are piloting wearing body-worn cameras, according to Dr Claire Williams, who was hired to lead the programme. 

Dr Williams told an NELFT board meeting last week that it knows there were "some concerning and worrying patient safety incidents". 

“We recorded that in some areas there were some unhealthy and unsafe cultures that were indicative of what the [Care Quality Commission] calls ‘closed cultures’.” 

A NELFT spokesperson said it takes patient safety incidents "extremely seriously" and had apologised to those involved.

“We have engaged our NHS and local authority partners, including our local safeguarding leads, as well as staff and patients, to learn from these incidents and take forward actions," the spokesperson said.

“We have done this through an improvement plan across our inpatient services, focused on safety and quality of care.” 

NELFT provides integrated and community mental health services to the boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Barnet, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest.