720 patients go missing from Shropshire hospitals over five years

More than 720 patients went missing from the county's hospitals between 2012 and 2016, it has been revealed.

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Of these, one patient suffered accidental harm, five had physical injuries and nine self harmed.

In figures released under a Freedom of Information request made to West Mercia Police, in 2012 59 patients went missing from the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, this rose to 70 in 2015 and fell to 63 in 2016.

At Telford's Princess Royal Hospital, 71 patients went missing in 2012, 84 in 2015 and 94 in 2016.

The most dramatic numbers are for the Redwood Centre mental health facility in Shrewsbury.

Here 73 patients went missing from the hospital in 2012 but this rose dramatically to 164 and fell to just 68 in 2016.

In total 727 patients went missing from the three hospitals from 2012 to 2016.

The longest period of time someone was missing was 13 days and 21 hours.

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Comments for: "720 patients go missing from Shropshire hospitals over five years "

Roger

The Redwood Centre mental health facility in Shrewsbury is full of mentally ill people so seriously ill that they justify admission. In mental health terms that is almost section-able. A danger to themselves or others. The aim is to discharge patients into care at home as quickly as possible. As such it is not a secure mental hospital. They try to balance the aspects of a free relaxed atmosphere and the need to detain patients and ensure their safety. The patients in all fairness are not properly in command of their themselves. By and large most patients are voluntary patients so the NHS has no power to detain them.

So there is an expectation almost that many will wonder off if not noticed and carry on going if unpersuaded. Then it might be case of returning them assessment in terms of sectioning them. So they are going to be the majority of missing patients.

There will always a number of patients who disagree with whether not they should discharged from hospital and simply walk out. Then there is a duty for their safety. They have to be found to make sure they are safe. Just like any other missing persons the Police are best equipped to find them. It is a part of their job. It's not about criminality but public safety which is just as important.

I suspect that the number of Children missing from care are probably larger given the numbers of care homes in Shropshire, most of which are not Shropshire children. It's a similar problem because children have a right to roam and carers no right to stop them unless they are sectioned mental health patients.

Human rights legislation does impose a lot of work on the police but we have to ask ourselves which is more important; Freedom or arbitrary detention. We probably don't have the balance right but it is far too easy to get it wrong. Then far to easy to abuse it.