Health board fined £235,000 after patient suicide

Dykebar Hospital
NHS Glasgow and Clyde admitted health and safety failings at Dykebar Hospital.

By Lucy Ashton

A health board has been fined £235,000 after a patient took his own life while receiving care at a mental health facility.

The 36-year-old man died in January 2020 while he was a patient at Dykebar Hospital in Paisley.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) admitted a breach of health and safety regulations.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said the death could have been prevented.

Speaking after the hearing, Debbie Carroll, who leads on health and safety investigations for the COPFS, said the health board had a duty to keep their patients safe.

Ms Carroll said: “Had they implemented all reasonably practicable measures they could have prevented him from taking his own life in the way he did.

“Their failure to ensure that ligature points within the hospital were suitably and sufficiently risk-assessed and that patients were not exposed to those ligature points led to the death of a man in their care.

“This prosecution should remind duty holders that a failure to manage and implement effective measures can have fatal consequences and they will be held accountable for this failure.”

Paisley Sheriff Court heard that the father-of-four had been admitted to the South Ward at Dykebar Hospital, two days before taking his own life on 22 January 2020.

The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive discovered that some of the fixtures and fittings on the ward were not of an anti-ligature design.

They also found failures by NHSGGC to ensure that the existing ligature points at the hospital were suitably and sufficiently risk assessed.

Following the death, remedial work was started but the failings continued until 23 March 2020.

The health board managed the existing ligature risks by placing at risk patients on “enhanced” observations by nursing staff.

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