Campaigners have slammed the government for failing to bring in a
three-minute limit for restraining violent mental health
Guidelines launched by the National Institute for Clinical
Excellence this week advise that physical restraint should be used
for “the shortest time possible”.
A maximum of three minutes for restraining people was a key
recommendation of the inquiry into the death of David Rocky
Bennett, who died in 1998 after being held face down for 25
Mental health tsar Louis Appleby said Nice’s decision was “as
important as the three-minute ruling”.
Psychiatrist and member of the guideline development group Sue
Johnston said there was no safe time and intervention was always
potentially hazardous. “If you say three minutes, people may want
to hold on for that time when it may be needed for a shorter time,”
But Dr Richard Stone, a member of the Bennett inquiry panel, said
the government’s measure was “just not good enough”. He added:
“People will continue dying in these circumstances until the NHS
has the courage to change this, which they must do now.”
Mental health charity Maca described the absence of a time limit as
a “serious omission”.