Death of psychiatric patient: health and safety prosecution: Scottish Health Board fined
Death of psychiatric patient: Scottish Health Board fined
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service v NHS Ayrshire and Arran (2015) Kilmarnock Sheriff Court, October 27
HNS Ayrshire and Arran has been fined following the death of a psychiatric patient in its care.
Significant points of the case
In August 2010 Gary Niven, a patient with a history of depression, hanged himself in the A&E department of Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock. He died a few days later.
The risk of psychiatric patients being left alone was identified by the Health Board. It had procedures for staff to follow but these were not followed for Mr Niven.
Mr Niven had been taken by ambulance to the hospital after saying he was feeling suicidal and had already attempted to hang himself. He was taken to a room where the doors were always left open so that he could be observed. A charge nurse noticed that the doors were closed and Mr Niven was found inside, having made a ligature from the arm of his jumper.
NHS Ayrshire and Arran was fined £100,000, reduced to £67,000 on the basis of an early plea of guilty, under section 3, HSW Act, for failing to ensure the health and safety of non-employees.