Letter: A lack of choice for ECT patients

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The Independent Online
Sir: In response to your article on our film 'Special Treatment' about Dr Kypros Loucas, J. M. Worman and others (letter, 10 December) complain that staff in special hospitals 'rarely . . . have any chance to answer the sort of allegations so often made against us without substantiation', and that 'ex-patients seem to be believed absolutely while we have no voice'.

It is disingenuous to argue that the ex-patients in the film are 'believed absolutely' and that their allegations are 'unsubstantiated'. A central theme of our film was that the Mental Health Act Commission - the government watchdog - had made repeated complaints over many years to Broadmoor and the Department of Health about the activities of Dr Loucas. What more substantiation could be wished for?

The authors of the letter claim that Broadmoor is 'not a closed institution'. However, it was closed to us. We were not allowed to film any of the many Broadmoor or Ashworth patients who wanted to appear in the programme to describe their experiences.

The real question raised by our film, which the authors of the letter do not address in any way, must be what guarantees can be given to patients that they will in future be afforded the full protection of the 1983 Mental Health Act, which our investigation revealed had been denied to many patients over many years.

Until that question is fully resolved, none of us can afford to be complacent about the treatment of patients in any of Britain's special hospitals, Broadmoor included.

Yours faithfully,

CLAUDIA MILNE

Twenty Twenty Television

London, NW1

11 December

The writer was executive producer of 'Special Treatment'.

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