A mental health unit is dramatically reducing the use of harsh restrictive practices with ‘inspiring’ practice changes.

Restrictive practices - including the use of physical restraint, seclusion and rapid tranquilisation - has been dramatically reduced by 80 per cent at Juniper Ward in Chase Farm Hospital, Enfield.

The mental health ward which operates in the Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust, has seen massive improvements in the cuts of restrictive practices since following an improvement programme led by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

While the ward is currently nine months into the 18 months of the ‘Reducing Restrictive Practices’ programme, the cuts has seen an impressive improvement in the treatment of patients.

The programme uses a system called Quality Improvement, encouraging staff and patients to share and test new ideas on how to reduce the use of restrictive practices and introducing patient barometers to help staff understand what makes a service user’s day better or worse.

Dr Amar Shah, the national lead for the Mental Health Safety Improvement programme, said: “The results achieved by Juniper Ward so early in the programme are staggering and shows what can be done when staff and service users come together to test out their ideas to improve care.

“Quality Improvement gives staff and service users the freedom and opportunity to develop new ideas, test these out and measure progress in real time.

“While we are only half-way through the programme, we are seeing improvements such as these in many of our participating wards. This is truly inspiring, as restrictive practice is a complex topic where we’ve struggled to see improvement through other approaches.”

On average, the monthly use of restrictive practices at Jupiter Ward has fallen from 15 at the start of the programme to three.

Quality Improvement has been used nationally in England for mental health, with almost half of England’s mental health trusts taking part.

NHS data shows there were 99,609 recorded cases of restraint in England in 2017-18, including 10,881 instances of people held in the prone position and 52,498 other types of physical restraint.

Patients were kept in seclusion rooms on 8,805 occasions and tranquilised 8,718 times.

The Reducing Restrictive Practices programme, which launched in November 2018 and concludes in March 2020, aims to reduce the use of restrictive practices by one third in 41 wards across 25 mental health trusts.