Someone injured every hour in Scotland’s mental health wards

30 Jul 2018

A person sustains an injury at a mental health unit in Scotland every hour, new figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives have revealed.

According to the research, nearly 24 incidents a day are recorded in facilities right across the country.

It means, in 2017/18, there were 8519 incidents resulting in injury among staff, patients and even some visitors.

That compares to 9101 the previous year, and 8721 in 2015/16, bringing the three-year total to 26,341.

Scottish Conservative mental health spokeswoman Annie Wells said the statistics should help renew focus on improving mental health care in Scotland, creating a better environment for vulnerable patients and healthcare workers.

According to the Freedom of Information requests, incidents ranged from assaults and accidents such as falls and trips, to substance abuse and issues with absconding and patient transport.

Instances involving burns, hazardous liquids and infection control also occurred.

Scotland’s largest health board, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, noted the most incidents last year (3232) followed by NHS Lothian (1679) and NHS Grampian (1335).

Scottish Conservative mental health spokeswoman Annie Wells said:

“Everyone accepts that mental health wards can be extremely challenging both for patients and staff and, as such, incidents involving injury are bound to occur.

“But at the same time, more clearly needs to be done to reduce the thousands which occur each year.

“All political parties agree that mental health deserves parity of esteem with physical health.

“But if that is to be the case, these units have to become safer for workers and patients, and clearly that will take a great deal of effort and focus.

“That requires the Scottish Government speaking to staff, experts and relevant charities to see what improvements can be made to reduce injuries in this vital part of our NHS.”