Patients detained ‘unlawfully’

Bootham Park Hospital in York.
Bootham Park Hospital in York.
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PSYCHIATRIC patients from Leeds were potentially unlawfully detained under the Mental Health Act because of “fundamentally defective or unsafe” documentation, an investigation has found.

The discovery of significant gaps in patient records followed the sudden closure of Bootham Park hospital in York last September after the 18th century building was found unfit for purpose by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The manner of the closure prompted widescale criticism of the organisation and standard of treatment offered to vulnerable patients, many of whom had to be relocated, virtually overnight, to another hospital in Middlesbrough.

It has now emerged that legally-required records to support detention of patients in both York and neighbouring Leeds were missing in at least 25 cases, with an ongoing audit of records likely to find further failings.

All 25 patients had to be discharged from care as a result with some ultimately found not to be required to be subject to any form of detention under the Mental Health Act.

Some of the gaps in the records, held by Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT), dated back several years which meant patients had potentially been unlawfully detained for lengthy periods of time.

Leading mental health campaign groups have criticised the failures with Mind stating there are “no excuses for not doing this properly when this is a decision which can have such a massive impact on someone’s life.”

LYPFT has apologised for the failings and said it had increased resources for records management in response.

Initially it was discovered that 11 patients had been unlawfully detained by the trust’s services in the York area.