Minister announces new drive to end deliberate face-down restraint

New controls to stop the deliberate use of face-down restraint for people receiving care launched by Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb.

Restraint can cause both physical and psychological harm to patients and staff. As a result the government has published new guidance to reduce the use of this outdated practice in all health and adult care settings and is investing £1.2 million in staff training so they can avoid using restrictive interventions.

The new guidance comes after a government investigation into the Winterbourne View Hospital found restraint being used to abuse patients. A similar study by Mind also found that restrictive interventions were being used for too long, often not as a last resort and even to inflict pain, humiliate or punish.

The new programme, called Positive and Safe, will support staff to avoid the use of all restrictive interventions, which include physical, chemical, medical and mechanical restraint and seclusion.

Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, said:”No-one should ever come to harm in the health or care system. Although it is sometimes necessary to use restraint to stop someone hurting themselves or others, the safety of patients must always come first.

“This new guidance will stop inappropriate use of all types of restraint, reduce this outdated practice and help staff to keep patients safe.”

The new guidance forms part of a two-year strategy to overhaul the outdated use of restrictive interventions – such as face-down restraint, seclusion and rapid sedation – in all health and care services.

The new guidance on the use of face-down restraint and other restrictive interventions has been developed jointly by health and care professionals and people who use services, and led by the Royal College of Nursing. It will make sure staff are given the best possible information and support, enabling them to give high quality care whilst also keeping themselves safe.