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Chair resigns amid ‘unacceptable care’ scandal

Published on: 18 Nov 2022

The chair of a mental health trust which is facing allegations of abuse and poor care has resigned.

Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust chair Rupert Nichols announced his departure in a letter to staff, warning “inexcusable behaviour” and “unacceptable care” had been exposed at the trust’s medium-secure inpatient unit, the Edenfield Centre.

In September, a BBC Panorama investigation uncovered a “toxic culture of humiliation, verbal abuse and bullying” at the facility in Prestwich near Manchester. Several staff members have since been sacked.

Mr Nichols, whose term was due to end next July, wrote: “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. It is clear that it will take some time for the trust to navigate the challenges of successfully implementing our improvement plan and rebuilding faith and confidence in our services.

He added: “I believe that the trust would benefit from a new chair, bringing new ideas and energy to lead the board through this recovery period and beyond.”

Mr Nichols will step down from the board at the end of December.

He added: “I am absolutely certain that GMMH 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.”

Following the documentary, NHS England’s national mental health director ordered all providers to review their safety, describing the footage as “heartbreaking and shameful”.

The situation at Edenfield is not isolated and there have been other reports of care scandals at mental health trusts.  

Essex Partnership University FT is subject to a government probe over 1,500 deaths, while an NHSE-commissioned report into the deaths of three teenagers at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Trust revealed “systemic” failings

The continued slew of problems has prompted calls for a national inquiry into mental healthcare, an option being considered by health ministers.