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#RCN100 Celebrating 100 years of the Royal College of Nursing

Hospitals in Trouble

John P. Martin

June Andrews, Director Dementia Services Development Centre and RCN Fellow

Reason you chose this book

This study of staff brutality in 15 long stay hospitals showed abuse of patients who had been dumped there and it horrified me.  I was working alongside people named in the book.  Some were heroes, but I was shocked that others were still working. I was shaken to the core.

Review

Professor John Martin wrote about system failure. He showed how people with long term mental health problems or learning disability became invisible and staff became unaccountable when both were incarcerated and sequestered in the big Victorian institutional systems. The history of psychiatric nursing was male, rough, and focused on mechanical restraint and treatments that would now be regarded as abusive.  It has been said that these hospitals were abandoned not because the conditions were scandalous, but when it became economically viable. This is our lesson for now.  Quality and human rights arguments make no difference. It’s all about the money.

October's page turners

Read all of October's book reviews.