"Taken to hospital after a suicide attempt"

About: Inpatient mental health care

(as the patient),

I was an inpatient in a Psychiatric Hospital. I was previously known to the services. I was taken in after a serious suicide attempt. During my stay I made further suicide attempts where I needed the staff to use an oxygen lead in the room. After 24 hrs another shift was on and realised the oxygen lead was missing. They calculated I had it on me. The staff nurse took me into a side room and asked for the lead. After I refused to return it, the staff nurse said it was serious for them and if I killed myself they would lose their jobs. I still refused to hand it over. They left me but after I settled for bed the staff woke me and restrained me so they could retrieve the oxygen lead.

Following the restraint I needed medication which I had in an injection. I later went to the bathroom where I had been injected and the needle was left in there and had been there several hours with the bathroom accessible to all patients. I later self harmed with the needle. I was discharged on the Monday as I was causing serious difficulties. I was discharged when I was still ill and went straight out and took an overdose. To my knowledge of the situation, the doctor had stated on file that I could not be re-sectioned so the police who wanted to put me on an emergency section were unable as I had been given permission to kill myself. Obiously for me this was a very concerning experience I was placed in hospital for my own safety but evidence shows I was not kept safe. I feel it was lucky I found the needle that had been used on me because it could have put a lot of patients at risk.

Regarding the oxygen lead, in my view staff only cared for their jobs and not to be found out to the point that they restrained me to protect themselves. To be released early not only put me at danger but my partner who also has mental health issues was powerless and he was very concerned. I believe these incidents are very serious and staff should be more alert with serious equipment. If you are place in a place of safety, you expect this sort of thing not to happen. I never complained as I felt I wouldn't be listened to.

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Response from Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

The Trust takes patient safety very seriously and the staff on the ward are encouraged and supported to report incidents such as “leads going missing” to reduce the risks to patients and to maintain safety on the ward. I am confident that their attempts to retrieve the lead would have been to maintain your safety and prevent use of the lead for further attempts of self harm.

We are really sorry you felt unable to complain about your experiences on the ward. The complaints procedure provides the opportunity for the circumstances to be investigated so that the Trust can learn from any incidents. We work to be open and transparent about the services we provide and are keen to address issues when the quality of the care does not meet with our expectations.

We are always looking to improve our services so the ward manager and I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to listen to your experiences and understand and further investigate your individual circumstances. Please contact me on 01823 368250 or 07824547421.

Neil Jackson, Head of Inpatient Services