Mental Health Reforms: The Mother's Story - 'Supervision might have saved my son'
Tuesday 08 December 1998
Mr Olley, 26, leapt from the 10th floor of Lister Hospital, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, in April. In an earlier fall, from the sixth floor of a car park, he suffered severe facial wounds. A few minutes before his death Mrs Olley heard his social worker ask a nurse at the Lister, where he was an in-patient, to keep a close eye on him. He had become furious during a meeting with his parents because they had failed to bring his guitar. The Lister has been under scrutiny recently because seven in- patients killed themselves in a six-month period up to last summer.
Mrs Olley accepts there was a high risk her son would commit suicide. One of the most stable periods in his four years of illness was when he was transferred to a secure unit at Fairfields Hospital, near Letchworth, Bedfordshire. He could only leave the ward if accompanied by a staffer.
During his final stay at the Lister he would leave unaccompanied to visit a friend in town. Mrs Olley said: ''We can't go back to Victorian asylums. But there are people who need to be in an institution-type atmosphere for some periods.''
A review was carried out into seven suicides at the Lister. It found problems with supervision and staff shortages and it recommended improvements. But North Herts NHS Trust, which runs the Lister, defended its supervision of patients.
Chief executive Heather Lawrence has said: "Each patient is being assessed. Either they are being observed the whole time, which can be distressing for them, so we try to avoid it, or they are monitored every 15 minutes or, if they are near discharge, they have a lot more freedom."
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Watch a man race the Circle line - and win
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
Islamic State: Pope is 'being targeted by Isis', Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See warns
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude pictures exhibition cancelled after artist concedes photos were 'stolen property'
Scotland independence: A nation divided against itself: Brown says SNP are liars. Darling joins in. Salmond fights back
John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time: 'That was the lowest I'd ever felt'
Richard III: Two years after his body was found scientists discover how he died
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...
£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant We are curr...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...