Pryers Solicitors

Is the lack of mental health wards in York a danger to other patients?

It has been revealed that in October an elderly man was attacked in his bed at York hospital, after being brought to the A&E department with breathing problems.

A hospital worker told York Newspaper, The Press, that another patient, who was known to have mental health and drinking problems, was left unsupervised to walk around the ward at night when most patients were asleep.

The hospital worker told The Press:

“He went walkabout and took bedding off another another bed and tried to smother this old man.

The alcoholic was there to dry out, and was walking around the ward moving things near the bed, then used bedding to try and smother the older chap. The cannula was pulled out of the old man’s arm, there was blood everywhere. I’ve never known anything like this happen, personally. Everyone rushed into action and removed the man and he was put in a side ward.”

On October 1st York’s only psychiatric hospital, Bootham Park, was suddenly closed following an unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who found it unfit for purpose.

Sources at the hospital told The Press that the building was in a poor state of repair and part of the ceiling fell down during the inspection.

About 30 inpatients were moved to alternative accommodation, and all outpatients seen at Bootham Park will continue to be seen at alternative venues serviced by the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

The health worker who spoke to The Press said he understood that the attacker should have been in the mental health unit, but Bootham Park has yet to reopen.

“I have such serious concerns. He shouldn’t have been there. It’s terrible for [patients with mental health issues] as well, they aren’t in the right environment, they need different nursing, not just to be put on a general ward”, the health worker continued.

A spokeswoman for York Hospital told The Press: “The incident was dealt with at the time by our security team and the police. It is currently the subject of an internal investigation.” 

The victim of the attack was later moved to a cottage hospital, before returning home.