News has emerged in the past few days that Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust is being investigated by Essex police regarding a deaths of a number of inpatients at the Linden Centre at Broomfield Hospital over a period of 16 years.
The media are reporting that 7 patients have died at the Linden Centre since 2001 with, tragically, all of the patients committing suicide – and sadly all by attaching a ligature to ward furniture or fittings.
Essex Police are reported to have said that : “We are investigating a number of deaths to ascertain whether there were any criminal failings of persons connected to the organisation.”
A spokesperson for Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust stated that, ‘The history of serious incidents of self-harm at the Linden Centre is a matter of great concern that the new Trust has already recognised must be addressed. The trust will fully support any police and HSE investigations.’
‘Never Events’ are defined as ‘serious incidents that are entirely preventable as guidance, or safety recommendations providing strong systemic protective barriers, are available at a national level, and should have been implemented by all healthcare providers’. In-patient suicide using non-collapsible rails is defined as one of the eight NHS Never Events. Families of those who tragically died over the past 16 years will no doubt be monitoring the investigation very closely.