Episode 14: The reputation of the hospital is at stake...

As this episode alludes to, deaths of patients – and - criminal activity in high security psychiatric care will always be thoroughly investigated and personnel undertaking such investigations must be mindful of the particular challenges of working in such environments so the investigation is fair and thorough.

If care providers - the staff and their management team - are found to be negligent, they may face prosecution. Scrutiny of top security hospitals is proper, appropriate and still viewed with anxiety by some who work in such environments. Whilst, for the purposes of the story development, some dramatic licence is taken in Shadow about some staff ‘bad apples’ at the fictional Hilgram Lodge, good, committed professionals who dedicate their working lives to the enhancement of life for people in the mental health system make up 99.9% of staff. However, even those too young to have been in employment at the time will at some point become aware of the Yorkshire Television documentary ‘The Secret Hospital’ which aired in May 1979. The fear is not caused by the findings of the reporting and the allegations made which at the time was a nation-wide sensation covered by every newspaper and TV channel, but the fall out towards staff who worked at the hospital and their families. Management too fear investigation. Following the 1979 investigation a third of all of the staff working at the hospital were subject to extensive police interviewing and over two hundred changes where made to improve the but the impact on both staff and patients – and the relationship between them proved to be seriously challenging. In the investigation described in Shadow it is clear that management fear the fall out from the investigation following the death of a patient and a team member and that someone must be held responsible, whether it is the person actually responsible, or not.

Listen to Episode 14:

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