Sussex

Patient's death at Sussex mental health unit probed

A 22-year-old woman has died while being treated as a patient at a mental health hospital in Sussex.

Police said they were investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Rosemary Grafan, from Brighton, who died at Millview Hospital, in Hove.

Paramedics were called at about 0100 BST last Friday.

The death is the sixth to have happened at hospitals operated by the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust since April 2008.

John Blair, 40, was found hanging at the Woodlands mental health unit in Hastings in October 2009, while Sgt Richard Bexhell, 49, was discovered hanged at the unit in August last year.

'Tragic cases'

Susanna Anley, 35, died at the Woodlands unit in April 2008, and Michael Stevens, 53, from Lancing, died after he was found hanged in his room at the Meadowfield unit in Worthing.

A 27-year-old man was found dead in the toilets of a public area of Millview Hospital on 8 March this year.

Dr Shakil Malik, clinical director at the trust, said it was not possible to say any more about the death of Ms Grafan while the police investigation was continuing.

"Patient deaths in mental health hospitals are always followed up by the police in this way," Dr Malik said.

"There is no link between this case and the wholly different nature and circumstances of the police investigation into the tragic cases at the Woodlands Centre last year.

"In those cases the police gave the trust a clean bill of health."

The trust said about 150 inpatient deaths occurred in mental health services nationally every year and therefore a proportion of these - about four or five a year - were likely to occur in Sussex.

"For a very small number of people admitted to mental hospitals, highly risky behaviour and determination to self harm or even take their own lives challenges the careful safety measures we take to protect patients from harm," said a spokesman.

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