Violent patients turned away by full-up hospitals
Friday 25 October 1996
The patients had sought help at a number of casualty and support facilities in west London and doctors felt that five were a serious threat to the public because of aggressive behaviour and a history of violence.
Although doctors felt that the patients should be admitted into care, they were turned away because no beds were available anywhere in the capital. One of the patients was detained but he was later sent home.
After being refused admission, three of the patients physically threatened hospital staff and other patients and used abusive language, though nobody was hurt. One of the patients later threatened a policeman after leaving the emergency psychiatric unit at Charing Cross.
Two of the patients have a history of repeated criminal offences, including sexual assault and rape.
One had committed more than 50 offences and had been convicted more than 10 times for crimes including rape.
The other had been imprisoned three times and has a history of sexual assault.
Steven Hirsch, Professor of Psychiatry at Charing Cross Hospital, said that he was concerned that the patients may "take someone's eye out or rape somebody".
"After ringing 32 hospitals and 10 secure units, you start wondering whether there is any point in sending out social workers and assessing patients through and through," Professor Hirsch said.
One of the patients is homeless and was refused a place at a number of hostels because he was considered too dangerous. "He will be walking down the street with a social worker and stop women and say inappropriate things," the professor said. "There are plans to place him in a speciality hostel but there is a four- to six-weeks waiting list."
A spokesman for the National Health Service in London said: "We are aware of the fact there is a problem in London. Mental health trusts and health authorities, who buy mental health services, are working together in an attempt to solve that."
An extra 226 mental health beds will be available by 1998 bringing the total number of beds to 2,400, and pounds 10m extra funding has gone into mental health in London.
Mental health community services in the capital received more than pounds 3.5m last April.
But Liz Sayce, policy director of Mind, the mental health charity, said that there was a lack of support services in the community.
"The apparent problem is shortage of beds," Ms Sayce said. "But there are people who could be discharged if they had somewhere to go.
"That would free up hospital beds for the minority of people who actually need them."
One of two dangerous patients who went on the run from the same secure psychiatric hospital was recaptured last night. Gregory Mellers, 29, a convicted sex attacker, escaped from the grounds of Arnold Lodge in Leicester on Wednesday night, sparking a massive police search. He was recaptured after he was spotted in the city.
Jason Fielding, 25, who has a conviction for wounding, was still at large after he failed to return to the unit on Sunday night from a period of parole. The police hunt for him continues. Both men were undergoing treatment at the 55-bed medium secure unit.
The Secretary of State for Health, Stephen Dorrell, instructed Leicester Mental Health Trust and Leicester Health Authority to examine the security and treatment of Mellers, who was being treated for a personality disorder.
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
Ball pool for adults opens in London
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...