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Responding to the poor care uncovered at Priory Hospital Ticehurst House, Sarb Bajwa, Chief Executive of the British Psychological Society, said:
‘The treatment of these desperately vulnerable young women is shocking and deeply disturbing. From a lack of care and compassion to woefully inadequate staffing levels; the young women shown in the programme were badly let down when they most needed help.
‘Supporting young people in mental health crisis is a job for professionals with the highest standards of competency and experience. Instead, young people with the most complex mental health challenges were left in the so-called “care’”of inexperienced and untrained staff.
‘Despite Priory’s assertions that they have removed all potential ligature points across their services, it’s clear that this simply isn’t the case. In fact, tragically, it seems as though very little has changed since the death of Amy El-Keria in 2012.
‘We know that many CAMHS across the UK are woefully underfunded and increasingly overwhelmed, with delays sometimes as long as 18 months before young people can be seen. Once young people actually succeed in accessing a service, we’ve got to make sure it is a supportive, effective and caring environment where there is sufficient access to expert therapeutic care – the very opposite of the experiences of some young people placed by the NHS at Ticehurst House.’
Julia Faulconbridge, the Consultant Clinical Psychologist who appeared in the programme, added:
‘When a young person is admitted to a High Dependency Unit, there should be two imperatives: to keep the young person safe and to provide the highest quality therapeutic care to them and their family so they can return to other appropriate care after the shortest possible time. The film shows that this unit did not deliver on either. In fact, the provision actually inflicted psychological harm on at least some young people in its care.
‘In order to work effectively with young people, staff need to be both highly trained and supported through a responsive, integrated, compassionate management system. The film again showed through the experiences of the undercover worker that none of those conditions were met. While it can be easy to blame individual staff for the failings, it is clearly the entire system at Ticehurst House which needs to be scrutinised and brought up to modern standards.’