OVERWORKED staff strapped elderly patients in a local hospital to their chairs to restrain them, a report has revealed.

The Harrow Primary Care Trust workers use men’s braces and bed sheets to tie down the pensioners while they were on a ward in Northwick Park Hospital.

A report, produced after an internal investigation by the PCT, found five patients’ human rights had been breeched in October and November last year.

In one case, a patient was found strapped to a chair with a bed sheet to restrict their movement, at a time when the ward in question, Fletcher ward, was at “minimum staffing levels”.

PCT staff called police and suspended the staff on duty in the ward, where 42 per cent of patients at the time were suffering from forms of dementia.

The subsequent investigation, when patients and relatives from the ward were questioned, uncovered four other instances of “inappropriate physical restraint” being used.

No individual member of staff has been singled out for tying the elderly patients down, and the report blames the failings on a lack of communication and leadership, insufficient staffing levels brought on by severe financial cutbacks, and not enough training for staff.

The report has recommended the PCT, which runs Fletcher ward, and North West London Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, should review their staffing levels, training, and working practices.