Health board fined after patient’s death

A Glasgow health board has been fined £235,000 after a patient took his own life while in their care.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde pled guilty to a breach of health and safety regulations committed between 1 January 2020 and 23 March 2020 

The Procurator Fiscal depute told Paisley Sheriff Court that the 36-year-old father of four had been admitted to the South Ward at Dykebar Hospital, Paisley two days before taking his own life on 22 January 2020. 

The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that some of the fixtures and fittings on the ward were not of an anti-ligature design. 

They also found failures by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to ensure that the existing ligature points at Dykebar Hospital were suitably and sufficiently risk assessed. 

Following the death, remedial work was started but the failings continued until 23 March 2020. The health board managed the existing ligature risks by placing at risk patients on ‘enhanced’ observations by nursing staff. 

Speaking after the sentencing, Debbie Carroll, who leads on health and safety investigations for the COPFS, said:     

“NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde had a duty to keep their patient safe. Had they implemented all reasonably practicable measures they could have prevented him from taking his own life in the way he did. 

“Their failure to ensure that ligature points within the hospital were suitably and sufficiently risk-assessed and that patients were not exposed to those ligature points led to the death of a man in their care. 

“This prosecution should remind duty holders that a failure to manage and implement effective measures can have fatal consequences and they will be held accountable for this failure.”