Claims staff mistreated patients at mental health unit at The Edenfield Centre in Prestwich

Police open an investigation into allegations staff mistreated patients at The Edenfield Centre in Manchester following undercover filming. Credit: MEN Media

Police have opened an investigation into allegations staff mistreated patients at a mental health unit.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said the probe comes following a period of undercover filming at The Edenfield Centre.

The undercover BBC Panorama investigation found what it calls a 'toxic culture' of humiliation, verbal abuse and bullying.

The centre, which has 11 medium secure wards, and is one of the UK’s largest NHS mental health hospitals, is operated by Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) in Prestwich, Manchester.

The Edenfield unit cares for adult patients, many of whom have been to prison or sentenced to hospital orders for criminal offences, and helps them adjust back into the community.

Secret footage filmed over three months shows staff taunting patients in vulnerable situations, using inappropriate restraint - according to experts - and faking paperwork intended to ensure patient safety.

ITV Granada Reports filmed at the Edenfield Centre with staff as they helped patients make a smooth and safe transition into the community. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Chief Superintendent Michaela Kerr, who is head of GMP’s Public Protection Department, said: “It goes without saying that these allegations are concerning. Since they were brought to our attention, we have been working with partner agencies to ensure the safeguarding of vulnerable individuals.

“We’ve also obtained the information required to open criminal investigations and enquiries are ongoing to ensure all offences are recorded and those involved identified."

The force said it is now in a consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, to review the footage captured, with a view to prosecuting anyone who was captured committing a crime.

What did the investigation uncover?

  • Staff swearing at patients, taunting and mocking them in vulnerable situations - such as when they were undressing - and joking about their self-harm

  • Patients being inappropriately restrained - according to experts who reviewed the footage - as well as being slapped or pinched by staff on some occasions

  • Some female staff acting in a sexualised way towards male patients

  • 10 patients being held in small seclusion rooms - designed for short-term isolation to prevent immediate harm - for days, weeks or even months, with only brief breaks

  • Paperwork intended to ensure patient safety was frequently falsified - showing staff had done patient observations when they had not.

The Edenfield Centre is being investigated after an undercover reporter raised concerns over the treatment of patients. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

A GMMH spokesperson said they had taken matters "very seriously".

A statement said: "We would like to reassure patients, carers, staff, and the public that we are taking the matters raised very seriously.

"We have put in place immediate actions to protect patient safety, which is our utmost priority.

"Since then, senior doctors at the Trust have undertaken clinical reviews of the patients affected, we have suspended a number of staff pending further investigations and we have also commissioned an independent clinical review of the services provided at the Edenfield Centre.

"We are working closely with local and national partners including NHS England, the Care Quality Commission and Greater Manchester Police to ensure the safety of these services. We will co-operate fully with all investigations.

"We owe it to our patients, their families and carers, the public and our staff that these allegations are fully investigated to ensure we provide the best care, every day, for all the communities we serve."

Anyone with information should contact GMP via or 101 quoting Operation Crawton.

Information about crime can also be shared anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Greater Manchester Victims’ Services can be contacted via or 0161 200 1950.