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'Sexual safety' review of NHS mental health wards launched


A review of “sexual assault and harassment” on NHS mental health wards has been launched by England’s health and social care watchdog, after a snapshot survey identified 900 incidents or risks reported by staff in a three-month window.

It was triggered after Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors found “sexual incidents” reported by staff at a trust that was already being investigated for housing men and women on the same ward - a clear breach of guidance.

When it broadened its search in the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS), a central database of 60,000 patient safety incident reports, which can include risks that have yet to cause an incident, the CQC found trusts had reported almost 1,000 sexual safety issues. 

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