Luke lives in London and sometimes experiences mental health problems. The last time he went to a mental health ward he experienced some issues with the way staff treated him. He was very unhappy about the way he had been restrained during a challenging episode. Luke had been restrained before and he told his advocate he knew it was sometimes necessary for his safety and other peoples. The most recent time though he thought the restraint had been done to punish him. His arm was pushed up to his back and his thumb was pushed away in a way that was very painful. His hand was injured and he had to get medical treatment.

Luke asked his advocate to make a written complaint – he wanted the ward manager to reassure him that this sort of restraint would not happen again. His advocate wrote in the letter that Luke’s treatment might have been inhuman or degrading, which would breach Article 3 of the Human Rights Act. This led to a formal investigation, so the matter could be looked at properly. Although it was found that the restraint Luke had experienced was not inappropriate in the circumstances, this did prompt staff to think more carefully about the rights of service users. A new training programme was put in place so staff could ensure that when restraint was used it was done safely.