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Multiple Deaths on Mental Health Ward

By Senior Associate, Clinical Negligence

My colleague Paul Sankey recently blogged about A&E casualty departments not coping and the possible impact of future budget cuts.

Another starling example of hospitals being unable to cope with limited resources is highlighted in this Guardian article which documents the death of three patients at The Tower Hamlets Centre for Mental Health in the last 6 months.

In April 2010 Prodip Debnath died after suffering multiple stab wounds; another patient was found guilty of his murder. Astonishingly after this murder East London NHS Foundation Trust introduced cuts designed to save up to £20m over three years. Warnings by Unison that patients would be put at risk were ignored.

Tragically not long after the budget cuts were implemented a second patient died by putting a plastic bag over his head. An internal review suggested an increase in staffing levels.

In February this year there was a third death on the same ward.

I am very concerned that the budget cuts that are to take place in the near future will result in more cases like these. Just what will it take for lessons to be learned?

Nisha Sharma is a Clinical & Medical Negligence Solicitor at Slater and Gordon. Nisha represents victims of medical accidents and is a member of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel.

For a free consultation call Slater and Gordon Lawyers on freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help you.