If you or a loved one have been admitted to one of our inpatient wards it's important that you know about your rights when it comes to the use of force. 

The use of force is when trained staff use certain techniques or actions to prevent or restrict a person. This might be physical restraint, restraint using medicines such as an injection, or the use of seclusion. Use of force must only ever used as a last resort to protect the person or those in contact with the person from major harm.

An example might be that the person is harming themselves or someone else and the risk means trained staff need to intervene to stop it fast to prevent further harm.

When force is used it must be fair and proportionate to the situation, and support your human right to be safe.

Use of Force Act 

The Use of Force Act 2018 was introduced following the death of Seni Lewis in the care of a mental health unit. Seni died after being restrained on a ward by multiple police officers. No-one looked after his physical health.

During 2021 the Department of Health and Social Care consulted upon the use of force statutory guidance and in December 2021 this came into the statutory framework for all mental health services to implement.

One of the requirements of this statutory framework was for all NHS Trusts to develop a leaflet for service users and the people who support them to ensure we are having an open and honest conversation about the possible use of force and what this means. 

Information for you and the people who support you 

We have worked alongside our service users, carers, volunteers, people with lived experience and staff working in our clinical teams to develop a leaflet which outlines our approach to the use of force. 

This information features views, feedback and contributions from Sheffield Voices, Disability Sheffield and Sheffield African Caribbean Mental Health Association (SACMHA) , as well as other NHS Trusts across the country. 

Anyone who has been admitted to one of our inpatient wards will have a copy of the leaflet shared with them, and staff are using the information to start conversations about prevention and care planning. 

Get in touch

If you have any questions or concerns about the use of force in your care or the care given to a loved one there are lots of different ways you can get in touch with us:

  • speak to the staff directly involved in your care
  • speak to the Ward Manager
  • speak to the Nurse Consultant for Restrictive Practice
  • speak to one of our Engagement and Experience Liaison Officers
  • speak to the Complaints Department by calling 0114 271 8956 or email complaints@shsc.nhs.uk
  • write to: Complaints Department, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, Centre Court, Atlas Way, Sheffield, S4 7QQ
  • visit the Care Quality Commission website and share feedback with them directly

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