Former West Lane Hospital patient recalls 'humiliating' treatment

Image caption Anna said care at West Lane Hospital was worse than any other facility she was treated at

A former patient at a troubled mental health unit has described her "humiliating and embarrassing" treatment at the hands of care staff.

The teenager, identified as Anna, was admitted to Middlesbrough's West Lane Hospital in 2016 under the Mental Health Act.

Admissions have been temporarily suspended following the death of 17-year-old Christie Harnett last week.

Health chiefs said they take patient welfare "very seriously".

Anna, who was 16 when she was treated at the hospital, said: "They'd restrain me face down on the floor; they're quite aggressive in the way they do it.

"I was undressed and put in 'safe suits' that were often wet and straight off another patient.

"Restraints were usually done with six people, I'd say most of them were men.

"Obviously I was a 16-year-old young woman. It was just humiliating and embarrassing. I was completely naked some of the time.

"I never even knew what I was being medicated with. They didn't tell me."

Safety taken 'seriously'

Care at West Lane Hospital has been in the spotlight following the death of Ms Harnett, from Newton Aycliffe, on 27 June.

It is believed she took her own life.

Image copyright Michael Harnett
Image caption Christie Harnett had been treated for mental health issues for two years before her death

Her stepfather, Michael, said her death happened "in a place meant to help her".

He alleged she was restrained without warning, illegally strip-searched and a male member of staff was present while she was naked.

The Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust said it takes the welfare and safety of people in its care "very seriously".

It added it would be "inappropriate to comment on the treatment of any individual".

Concerns about the hospital were first raised with the trust in November, and in March it was revealed 13 members of staff were facing disciplinary proceedings over the alleged ill treatment of patients.

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