Blackpool NHS worker secretly filmed naked mental health patient performing 'explicit act'

The woman tried to kill herself after discovering she had been secretly filmed while naked, say her family.
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An NHS worker in Blackpool secretly filmed and shared footage of a naked patient at a psychiatric hospital.

The patient had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and was being cared for at The Harbour in Preston New Road when the incident occured on February 4.

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She was in the seclusion suite when she suffered a 'severe behavioural episode' and was tended to by nurses and mental health professionals.

The woman was still in a highly distressed state and without clothes when she was filmed without her knowledge by a female member of staff.

CCTV footage captured the mental health support worker pretending to type on her phone whilst secretly filming the patient, who was fully undressed and reportedly performing an explicit act.

The incident happened at The Harbour mental health hospital in Preston New Road, Blackpool on February 4, 2024The incident happened at The Harbour mental health hospital in Preston New Road, Blackpool on February 4, 2024
The incident happened at The Harbour mental health hospital in Preston New Road, Blackpool on February 4, 2024

The staff member, a permanent employee of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, later showed the footage to colleagues, one of whom blew the whistle and reported the incident.

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After learning she had been filmed secretly and without her consent, the patient attempted to take her own life just days later, said her family.

Her partner told LBC the 'appalling' breach of trust had set her recovery back and "left her feeling more insecure in herself and less trusting".

He wants police to investigate and believes the incident should be considered a criminal offence due to a new law that makes it illegal to record and share an intimate video of someone without their consent.

The specific offence of recording and sharing such explicit footage of somebody without their consent was introduced as part of the Online Safety Bill on January 31, 2024.

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Lancashire Police said they are aware of the incident but will not be taking any action. The force said it does not believe any crime has taken place.

A police spokesperson said: "This matter was reported to us and was investigated by our Vulnerable Adult Team who, after making several enquiries, determined that no crime had been committed and as such the matter was referred back to the Trust."

The woman's partner added: "The failure of the police to take this degrading, humiliating and despicable act against her seriously enough to investigate just adds to the weight we currently feel."

The Harbour, run by Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Trust, is a 154 bed mental health hospital which provides care and treatment for adults who cannot be safely treated at home.

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Ursula Martin, chief strategy and improvement officer at the NHS Trust, said an internal investigation is under way. She did not confirm whether the staff member continues to work at The Harbour or for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals.

She said: “On February 12, 2024, we received a report of an incident where a patient had been filmed by a temporary member of staff at The Harbour.

"Patient safety is our priority and as such, we take reports of this nature very seriously.

"We are working with the patient’s family, as well as the police and an internal investigation is underway. Appropriate policies are being followed and we are unable to comment further at this time.”

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