Trust chairman to step down after mistreatment allegations at mental health unit

The chairman of an NHS trust is stepping down after “examples of unacceptable care” at a mental health unit.

Police are investigating allegations staff mistreated patients at the Edenfield Centre, in Prestwich, Manchester, following undercover filming by the BBC’s Panorama programme, which aired in September.

On Friday, Rupert Nichols (pictured), chairman of Greater Manchester Mental Health (GMMH) NHS Trust which operates the centre, announced he would be stepping down from the role at the end of December.

In a letter to staff, governors and board members, he said: “Our trust is facing significant challenges following the inexcusable behaviour and examples of unacceptable care that have been exposed at the Edenfield Centre.

“Both I and the board have apologised to those affected directly and indirectly.”

Mr Nichols said his term of office had been due to end in July but he believed the trust would benefit from a chairman with “new ideas and energy”.

He added: “I am absolutely certain that Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust will come through this difficult period, learning from the experience and making the appropriate changes to, once again, be recognised as a provider of high quality, compassionate care.”

In September, Greater Manchester Police said it was reviewing footage in consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) with a view to prosecuting anyone who was captured committing a crime.

Last month, a spokesperson for GMMH Trust said it was taking the allegations “very seriously”, adding: “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.

“We are working closely with local and national partners including NHS England, the Care Quality Commission and Greater Manchester Police to ensure the safety of these services. We will co-operate fully with all investigations.”

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