A dementia patient was restrained by security guards 18 times so he could be forcibly treated, as experts warn the case is “shocking and extreme”.

The 77-year-old was admitted to William Harvey Hospital in Ashford in November 2019 with a urinary retention problem.

He was pinned down by staff and hospital security guards on 18 occasions, and had a cloth held over his head while nurses inserted a catheter, a BBC investigation found.

Dr Katie Featherstone, a dementia-care researcher at Cardiff University, said the man’s protestations were “totally ignored”, adding: “It’s a really shocking and extreme case.”

In a statement, his family said: “What happened to our dad should never have been allowed to happen and should never be allowed to happen again.”

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has now apologised for the way the patient was treated and said his care “fell far short” of what should be expected.

A spokesperson said: “As soon as a member of staff raised their concerns, we reported it to the police and our regulators, suspended a number of staff and opened an investigation, during which we have remained in contact with the patient’s family.

“We apologise unreservedly to the patient and his family for the failings in his care, this fell far short of what patients should expect.”

Changes to dementia care – including ward reorganisation, training and recruitment – are now taking place at the hospital.

A police investigation into what happened was opened and subsequently closed.

One member of staff has been referred to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the professional regulator.

The patient has now been moved to a new hospital, the Kent and Canterbury, where he is happy and settled.

East Kent Hospitals is also at the centre of an investigation into its maternity services.

Care for mothers and newborn babies has been heavily criticised following a series of baby deaths.

It is being prosecuted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) over the death of baby Harry Richford.

The trust also faces enforcement action amid concerns over infection control, including people contracting Covid-19 in hospital.

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