"Inside Broadmoor" - Channel 5 tv 8.00pm Tuesday 23 July
- David Brindle in The Guardian on Wednesday previewed the Channel 5 programme to be broadcast next Tuesday, 23 April. The article refers to comments from Alan Franey, a former Broadmoor Chief Executive. See link and text of article below.
For a transcript of a BBCtv Panorama programme on the "Special Hospitals" - Broadmoor, Ashworth, Rampton - broadcast in 1998 go to the Files section of the mentalmagazine dicussion board http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mentalmagazine/files/. This explains the reasoning behind the attempt to close the Special Hospitals and replace them with small Regional Secure Units and details the scandals at Ashworth referred to in the article below, that led to the current security measures.
Also in the Files, Bill Collins' account of his incarceration in Broadmoor - this document which I put on the net in March, brought Bill to the attention of the programme makers and he is featured and interviewed in the programme. The programme has, I think, been helpful to Bill as it has speeded up his transfer from a Regional Secure Unit to a hostel in London. He will move there on Monday, the day before the programme broadcast. This was previously held up by the cancellation of three projected Tribunals - the move has now taken place without a Tribunal. I have seen the letter sent to Bill by the programme makers (Psychology News) in which he is guaranteed to see the programme before it is broadcast to ensure his approval of the content relating to him.
Janet Cresswell and her play "The One Sided Wall" will be featured in the programme I believe, although Janet herself will not appear. The play and other documents about and by her are also in the Files section of mentalmagazine. And see the main website for information about the Independent on Sunday campaign and Janet.
"Campaigning for good health & social care...it's for everyone"
Spectre of the 70s
Television programme alleges brutalities at Broadmoor
Wednesday July 17, 2002
Controversy over the impact of the security clampdown in English special hospitals will be reignited by a television documentary alleging that Broadmoor is returning to its custodial culture of the 1970s.
The programme next week will claim that a Broadmoor patient has been restrained in "arm and leg shackles", imported from the US; that razor wire has been added to the hospital's security fences, in breach of European law; and that patients are coming forward with allegations of abuse "almost identical" to those made 20 or 30 years ago.
Alan Franey, Broadmoor's chief executive from 1988 to 1997, says in the Channel 5 documentary: "It seems to me that the system is going back to what it was like prior to my going to the hospital in 1988 - and probably going back even further than that to what it was like in the 60s and 70s."
The £55m security clampdown at the special hospitals - Broadmoor in Berkshire, Rampton in Nottinghamshire, and Ashworth on Merseyside - was ordered by the government after a report by Sir Richard Tilt, former director general of the prison service. He had been asked to review security after an inquiry found that personality disordered patients at Ashworth had manipulated the regime there.
The mental health act commission, the watchdog for mental health care, has expressed concern at the "depersonalising and institutionalising" effects of some measures taken in response to the Tilt report.
Next week's documentary has been directed by psychologist David Cohen, who made a previous programme about the hospital in 1982. He says: "Everybody who was involved in trying to 'clean up' mental health in the 80s thought that that would really be the end of the mistreatment of patients. But many of the old problems now seem to have resurfaced."
Former Broadmoor patients interviewed in the new programme speak of having been punched and kicked by nursing staff and having had buckets of ice-cold water thrown over them. One talks of a nurse "bouncing up and down on my head".
The imported "mechanical restraints" are said to have been used on the patient, who was highly disturbed, as a more humane form of control than extended isolation or heavy, prolonged sedation. The hospital strongly denies that the restraints were shackles, insisting that their use was exceptional, backed by doctors and approved at board level.
"The patient concerned was prone to lashing out in an unprovoked way at other patients and staff; he could not help himself," says a spokesman. "This method allowed him more direct inter-personal interaction both with fellow patients and staff. It gave him a much better quality of life and he was involved in the decision."
The use of razor wire is a temporary measure while building work continues, the spokesman says. The last escape from Broadmoor, in 1992, occurred while construction work was under way.
· Inside Broadmoor is on Channel 5 at 8pm next Tuesday, July 23.
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