Glasgow Health Board Fined For Failure To Protect ‘At Risk’ Patient From Ending Life

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Greater Glasgow Health Board has been fined £200,000 after they failed to protect a patient from ending her life in their hospital.

Anne Clelland, 49, died from suicide in an ensuite toilet in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in May 2015.

She was a long term and well-known patient to mental health services and had only been admitted to the hospital after taking a deliberate overdose.

Just days after her admittance into hospital, Ms Clelland was visited by a trainee liaison psychiatrist to assess her mental state.

Despite the psychiatry review identifying the patient as having a ‘significant and ongoing risk’ of harming herself, sufficient provisions such as enhanced observations were not put in place.

This was put down to a breakdown in communication between the trainee psychiatrist and the staff on Ward 5A of the QEUH.

That resulted in Ms Clelland ending her life before she could be transferred to a specialist mental health unit at Glasgow’s Leverndale Hospital.

The health board plead guilty to a breach of the health and safety at work legislation at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Friday.

In his statement to the court, Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull said: “In their investigation, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) concluded that there was a lack of clear and consistent understanding of Ms Clelland’s significant risk of self-harm and suicide following the liaison psychiatry assessment; and that following that assessment measures should have been put in place to control this risk. HSE identified that there was clearly inadequate communication regarding this risk.”

Ms Clelland’s family were left devasted by her death.

In a statement made after the sentence was passed down, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “Our thoughts continue to be with Ms Clelland’s family and loved ones.

“Ms Clelland’s death is a matter of deep regret for which we apologise. As always, patient safety is our utmost priority, however, on this occasion a failure of communication had tragic consequences and we are sorry for that.

“As the court recognised, this was not a deliberate breach, nor symptomatic of wider issues.”

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