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“Inadequate and insufficient” mental health care

Posted in: Medical Negligence Public Transport Wrongful & Accidental Death 

Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust have been accused of failing to handle adequately the transportation of a mentally ill patient from St John’s hospital in Leeds to a mental health hospital in April 2015. North Yorkshire Coroner, Michael Oakley, described the arrangements as “inadequate and insufficient” as he recorded an open verdict at the hearing. 40-year-old Michael South from York stole the ambulance and crashed into a double decker bus on the A64 at Flaxton. He died at the scene.

Not carried out a risk assessment of the patient

Mr Oakley claimed that the Trust had omitted to pass on Mr South’s medical history to the ambulance provider, and added that the company providing the transport, ERS Medical, had not carried out a risk assessment of the patient.  Neither of the two staff attending the case had received mental health training.

Mr South, who had been admitted to hospital after stabbing himself in the chest, was being taken to Bootham Park Hospital in York in an ambulance operated by the private contractor. The two staff in the ambulance described how they had got out of the vehicle when the patient attempted to grab the wheel. As the keys were left in the ignition, Mr South was able to drive off in the ambulance.

All of the parties involved in the incident, including ERS Medical, the NHS Foundation Trust and the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust acknowledged that there were “lessons to be learned” from Mr South’s death, and all three expressed their condolences to Mr South’s family.

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