Most of the 19 rape allegations made in psychiatric wards from 2003 to 2005 are subject to “significant doubt”, the government has claimed.
Mental health “tsar” Louis Appleby (pictured) said after collecting information from local trusts he doubted whether 13 of the incidents actually happened as several allegations were made “when the patients’ mental state was severely disturbed”.
The allegations were reported by the National Patient Safety Agency in July but Appleby said the media had assumed that the 19 rapes had occurred, unfairly damaging the reputation of mental health services.
Appleby made the comments as the government announced a £30m package to improve safety on inpatient mental health wards.
The funding is aimed particularly at enhancing sexual safety for women. The Department of Health also promised greater support for patients in reporting incidents and guidance to help trusts ensure safety incidents are managed properly.