Glasgow & West Scotland

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde fined over patient suicides

Stobhill Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption Stobhill Hospital is located in Glasgow's Springburn area in the north of the city

Scotland's largest health board has been fined £100,000 after two patients took their own lives while in hospital.

Mother-of-two Louise Docherty, 27, died at Dykebar Hospital in Paisley in 2014 after being found unconscious in a hospital toilet.

Her death followed that of 44-year-old Kenneth McRae at Stobhill Hospital in 2012. Both patients had been assessed as high risk.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde admitted health and safety failings.

The health board acknowledged that it had failed to carry out proper observations, leading to the two deaths.

The court heard that medical student Mr McRae had been forced to give up his studies in his final year due to mental health difficulties.

He had been visited at Stobhill Hospital, in the Springburn are of Glasgow, by his sister and brother-in-law on 1 September. They had found him to be "quite unwell", the court was told.

'View was restricted'

Procurator fiscal depute Catriona Dow said that when Mr McRae was seen by a staff member at 23:40, he was noted to be "alert but not engaging".

At about midnight the member of staff saw only part of his body from outside the room.

Ms Dow added: "From her position in the corridor, outside Mr McRae's room, her view was restricted to the lower part of Mr McRae's body."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Ms Docherty died at Dykebar hospital in Paisley

A short time later he was found to be unresponsive.

Ms Dow told the court Louise Docherty had suffered mental health difficulties following the birth of her sons in 2011.

In March 2014 she was admitted to Dykebar Hospital following a deterioration in her mental state.

'Constant observations'

She was being observed by a senior charge nurse who left her alone to take a phone call nearby.

Ms Dow said that when the staff member returned minutes later to allow Miss Docherty to speak to her social worker on the phone, she was found unconscious in the toilet.

Attempts were made to revive her and she was transferred to the RAH hospital by emergency ambulance but died later.

The court heard that "had constant observations been properly implemented" neither Kenneth McRae nor Louise Docherty would have been able to take their own lives without being noticed.

Sheriff Bill Totten fined NHSGGC £100,000, reduced from £140,000, after they admitted failings.

He said: "In this case the plea of guilty by Greater Glasgow Health Board recognises that the deaths were avoidable and accepts responsibility for the defects which lead to them."

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