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MP criticises mental hospital's suicide failings
A HEALTH trust responsible for an Oxford mental hospital has been told to take action after failing an inspection.
Care Quality Commission staff failed the Warneford Hospital, Headington, left, following an unannounced inspection late last year.
They found points patients could hang themselves from and glass mirrors that could have been used for self-harm in bathrooms.
But the report said Oxfordshire Health NHS Foundation knew about the risk and did nothing.
Oxford East MP Andrew Smith, right, said: “The hospital needs to put its house in order.
“The really worrying thing about this is that staff told the inspectors that the hospital trust knew about the dangers, but nothing was being done about them.”
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, said an action plan was now in place and changes were being made.
Alexis Elliott, suicide prevention coordinator at charity Papyrus, said: “It is alarming and shocking to hear what has come out of the report. Reducing access to means will help reduce suicide attempts because people are not able to harm themselves.
“The fact they are doing something about it now is encouraging, but it is luck that nothing has happened before now.”
County councillor Susanna Pressel, of Oxfordshire’s joint health overview & scrutiny committee, said: “I shall look with interest at the action plan which Oxford Health has drawn up – perhaps rather belatedly.
“This is something that the health overview and scrutiny committee should look at at our next meeting.”
The CQC report said taps and bath handles in bathrooms could have been used in an attempt at hanging or self-strangulation and glass mirrors in bathrooms and toilets could have been broken and used by a patient to self-harm.
It said: “Some of the bathrooms were potentially unsafe for people at risk of self harm. The trust had identified but not addressed these issues.”
It also found some bedrooms were shared, compromising privacy and dignity, and garden access was restricted and only available under supervision.
An Oxford Health spokeswoman said the trust had put in place an action plan and improvements, which have started, would be completed by May 31.
She said: “The recently published CQC report identified a moderate concern for the Trust’s attention, namely that the type of mirror and taps could have been a possible risk for patients intent on self-harming.
“The trust can confirm there have been no instances of patients self-harming using the existing fixtures and fittings.
“However, Oxford Health NHS FT will be installing new fixtures as part of a programme of continuous improvement to the wards at the Warneford Hospital.”
The hospital opened in the early 19th century now provides care for about 100 mental health suffers at any one time.
It has three acute adult inpatient units, an eating disorder unit, a new £11m adolescent inpatient unit and houses community mental health teams.