Is NHS psychiatric care on the brink of collapse? Sign up to our free panel event

Is NHS psychiatric care on the brink of collapse? Sign up to our free panel event (The Independent)
Is NHS psychiatric care on the brink of collapse? Sign up to our free panel event (The Independent)

A crisis is deepening in NHS psychiatric care - but how can we turn the tide and stop a total collapse?

Join The Independent’s health correspondent Rebecca Thomas and a panel of experts as they dive into the heart of the issues plaguing the NHS’ mental health services.

This exclusive event comes after joint Independent/Sky News investigation Patient 11 uncovered 20,000 sexual abuse, harassment and assault complaints involving both patients and staff in more than 30 NHS mental health trusts in England since 2019.

Sparked by the testimony of former patient Alexis Quinn, who joins our panel, the investigation has prompted accusations by healthcare professionals that NHS psychiatric care in England is in a state of “collapse,” due to “unsafe” mixed gender care spaces, inadequate safeguarding protections and bed shortages.

Alexis Quinn is an autism campaigner, activist and manager at the Restraint Reduction Network, a charity with an ambitious vision to eliminate the unnecessary use of restrictive practices in health, social care and education.

A former GB youth swimmer and school teacher, Alexis was treated appallingly within the UK’s mental health system and detailed her escape in memoir Unbroken. After a breakdown, Alexis voluntarily went into an NHS respite facility for three days, only to be sectioned for three and a half years.

Not only was her autism missed, leading to her being restrained and put in solitary confinement; she was also put on mixed-gender wards, and sexually attacked.

Also on our panel is Professor Wendy Burn CBE, Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists from 2011 to 2016 and President from 2017 to 2020.

Professor Burn was appointed as a Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist in Leeds in 1990 and currently works part-time in a community mental health team for older people and as the National Mental Health Clinical Advisor to Health Education England.

She is currently Co-chair of the Gatsby Wellcome Neuroscience Project which focuses on modernising the neuroscience taught to psychiatric trainees. She is also Chair of the Clinical group of Equally Well, a project set up to improve physical health in people with a serious mental illness.

Our third panellist is Gemma Byrne, policy and campaigns manager at the mental health charity Mind. Gemma leads Mind’s policy work on NHS mental health services, advocating for more accessible, higher quality and more person-centred services.

Currently, Gemma is working on campaigning for improvements to safety and care in mental health hospitals for adults and young people, pushing for reform of the Mental Health Act and urging the government to slow down the roll out of the Right Care Right Person policy.

The event will be hosted on Zoom and will last one hour. It will take place on Thursday May 23 and will start at 6.30pm BST.

Once signed up you will be able to ask questions to the panel. You can also post questions in the comments of this article.

For more information and to sign up for a free ticket click here.