02nd April 2014

Guidance for a Positive and Proactive Workforce - Guidance Launch

Today we launch a guide to workforce development for commissioners and employers seeking to minimise the use of restrictive practices in social care and health...

New controls to stop the deliberate use of face-down restraint for people receiving care are to be launched today by Norman Lamb, Care and Support Minister.

Restraint can cause both physical and psychological harm to patients and staff. As a result the government has published new guidance to reduce the use of this outdated practice in all health and adult care settings and is investing £1.2 million in staff training so they can avoid using restrictive interventions.

The new programme, called Positive and Safe, will support staff to avoid the use of all restrictive interventions, which include physical, chemical, medical and mechanical restraint and seclusion.

As part of this two year programme, Skills for Health and Skills for Care have developed guidance on commissioning or delivering workforce development for adult health and social care workers in England who may need to carry out restrictive practices or interventions as part of positive support for people with health and social care needs who can display or are at risk of displaying behaviour that challenges or are resisting essential care. This document can be downloaded here.

The new guidance comes after a government investigation into the Winterbourne View Hospital found restraint being used to abuse patients. A similar study by Mind also found that restrictive interventions were being used for too long, often not as a last resort and even to inflict pain, humiliate or punish.

Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, said:

"No-one should ever come to harm in the health or care system. Although it is sometimes necessary to use restraint to stop someone hurting themselves or others, the safety of patients must always come first.

"This new guidance will stop inappropriate use of all types of restraint, reduce this outdated practice and help staff to keep patients safe."

The new guidance forms part of a two-year strategy to overhaul the outdated use of restrictive interventions - such as face-down restraint, seclusion and rapid sedation - in all health and care services.

About Positive and Safe

Positive and Safe is a two-year programme that incorporates two key pieces of guidance: Positive and Proactive Care and A Positive and Proactive Workforce. These are foundational pieces of guidance that will be built on to bring about changes in leadership and workforce.

The Royal College of Nursing led on reviewing, consulting and developing the new Positive and Proactive Care guidance. The process involved a range of stakeholders and professionals. It received over 400 responses with 95% supportive of the proposed approach.

Skills for Health and Skills for Care have produced guidance in A Positive and Proactive Workforce to support the commissioning of training and development of staff in both positive behaviour support and reducing the use of restrictive interventions. Download the guidance here.

Other related documents have been produced by NHS Protect and the Joint Improvement Partnership. The review of the Mental Health Act Code of Practice this year is also relevant to this work, as are clinical guidelines being developed in the next 12 months by NICE.

The Launch

The Positive and Safe programme launches today, 3 April 2014, hosted by Royal College of Nursing, in partnership with Skills for Health, Skills for Care and Department for Health

Today we will be announcing:

  • The two year Positive and Safe Programme
  • Positive and Proactive Care: reducing the need for restrictive interventions – DH guidance
  • A Positive and Proactive Workforce - guidance from Skills for Health and Skills for Care for providers who are commissioning training

To follow live twitter updates from the launch event please follow:

@skillsforhealth / @skillsforcare / @the RCN / @DHgovuk

Or use the following hashtags:

#positivesafe

#mentalhealth