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Investigation over mental health care

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

Staff at a mental health unit have been suspended following an allegation of mistreatment. A police investigation was launched at the mental health unit of Royal Blackburn Hospital after a patient was left screaming and covered in excrement for several hours. The Lancashire Care Foundation Trust, who runs the unit, is also investigating the allegation.

The incident happened on 22 November, with police still trying to establish whether or not there will be a criminal investigation. The director of nursing, Dee Roach, said that the trust is trying to investigate why the patient was left unassisted for several hours in the Ribble Ward, when care was so obviously required. She said that a few members of staff have been suspended while the investigation is underway.

“Frank and open investigation”

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “We are working with our partners within the Lancashire Care Foundation Trust to establish if this matter will be subject to a criminal investigation.” The chairman of Pennine Lancashire Patient Voices Group, Russ McLean, added that he is due to speak to the area’s lead commissioners for mental health services to ensure that there is a “frank and open investigation”. Mr McLean highlighted how vulnerable mental health patients are, a vulnerability that should not be taken advantage of by care workers.

Nearly one fifth of the health service’s annual budget is set aside to pay compensation to those affected by poor care, totaling at £22.7 billion.

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