Hospital ward suicide inquest prompts Camden mental health trust safety pledge

Camden’s mental health service has pledged to remove dangerous ligature points on its wards following the suicide of one of its patients - months after it was rapped by a government watchdog.

An inquest jury ruled on Thursday that Tanya Page, 41, took her own life at Highgate Mental Health Centre in Dartmouth Park Hill.

She was found hanged in her hospital room in May last year.

Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust announced that it is improving its safety procedures to prevent any future suicide attempts following the ruling at St Pancras Coroner’s Court.

These include removing ligature points from its wards - an issue highlighted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in a damning report into the trust four months ago.


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A spokeswoman for the trust said: “We provide care for some extremely unwell people.

“This is only the second death of this type on our wards in the last 10 years, but we treat every loss of life extremely seriously and we are taking every step to prevent any recurrence.”

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The inquest heard that Ms Page, who suffered from psychotic depression and a personality disorder, was not put on suicide watch despite having suicidal thoughts.

Her doctors told the court that it was not necessary to increase the number of observations because she was not at highest risk of killing herself.

Ms Page had attempted to take her own life once before on the ward, the jury heard.

In May, the Ham&High reported that a fellow patient had seen her two days before her death with “her dressing gown tie around her neck”.

The trust on Thursday said that since Ms Page’s death, it has “reviewed and strengthened its patient observation procedures”.

In October, the CQC report found it was in breach of six government regulations.

However its greatest concern lay in ligature points on wards which could be used by patients to hang themselves.

A spokeswoman said: “We send our deepest condolences to Tanya Page’s family. Her death has shocked the clinical staff who cared for her.”

She added: “We commissioned a thorough independent review of all possible ligature points on our wards and we are now ensuring these are being removed to help prevent any suicide attempts in the future.

The jury gave a narrative ruling, and told the court: “Tanya Page took her own life while suffering from psychotic depression with a background of emotional and unstable personality disorder.”

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