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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 July, 2004, 20:15 GMT 21:15 UK
Rowling lambasts Czech caged beds
JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter novels
Rowling's letter joined pressure from the UN, EU and human rights groups
The Czech Republic has said it will remove caged beds from psychiatric facilities, following a letter from Harry Potter author JK Rowling.

Caged beds with metal bars, used to restrain patients in psychiatric facilities, have long been condemned by human rights groups, the EU and the UN.

The Czech health ministry said it would immediately remove the beds from hospital wards across the country.

JK Rowling's letter had contributed to changing their policy, it said.

Decision to act

"The minister ordered that all caged beds be removed immediately, and beds with nets by the end of the year," Aneta Kupkova, a health ministry spokeswoman said.

"We have been following the situation for some time and the letter from Ms Rowling was one reason we decided to act now," she added.

JK Rowling wrote a letter calling for an end to the practice to Czech President Vaclav Klaus and outgoing Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla.

In the Czech Republic, children as well as adults are restrained in caged beds. Some Czech psychiatrists say they are needed to protect and restrain patients.

Czech authorities say there are around 20 caged beds and 100 net-covered beds in use in psychiatric wards around the country.




SEE ALSO:
Czech man's week in a cage
07 Jul 04  |  Crossing Continents
Czech PM survives vote
26 Sep 03  |  Europe
Country profile: Czech Republic
01 May 04  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Czech Republic
15 May 04  |  Country profiles


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