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Shrewsbury health trust pledges improvements after patient absconds and dies by suicide

A health trust that provides mental health services in Shropshire says it is committed to making further changes after the suicide of a woman being treated at one of their sites.

Redwoods Centre in Bicton Heath, Shrewsbury replaced the old Victorian building at Shelton Hospital.
Redwoods Centre in Bicton Heath, Shrewsbury replaced the old Victorian building at Shelton Hospital.

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust was found to have weaknesses in the way it transfers patients internally and it had "probably not" recognised the likely risk of Sue Robdale absconding.

For Miss Robdale, a retired occupational therapist from Kenwood Road, in Shrewsbury, a fear of dying alone in a dementia ward and a move from an acute ward to one for the over-65s had played on her fears, an inquest heard this week.

The body of Miss Robdale, a mother of two, was found three quarters of a mile away in a pond off Mytton Oak Road some 28 hours after she went missing.

Anne MacLachlan, clinical and care director for Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, gave her "deepest condolences" to Sue’s partner, family and friends.

She added: “All our patients deserve to receive the highest quality of care and we recognise this was not the case for Sue."

Sue Robdale

The inquest, which concluded with a jury reaching its unanimous conclusion on Wednesday, heard that the trust has already investigated the issue.

Anne MacLachlan said this was overseen by the clinical commissioning group that funds mental health services in Shropshire.

"This identified improvements to prevent further deaths of this kind, which we are implementing in full, including improving the physical surroundings of our patients and reviewing transfer and observation processes.

“We have also committed to undertake further actions based on our learning and have agreed to provide evidence to the coroner when we have completed these."

Senior coroner John Ellery said he wanted to be kept in touch with the progress and did not issue a prevention of future deaths notice because he said actions had already happened and more were planned.

“We are supporting Sue’s family and have invited her partner to be part of this and we will continue to offer support in the long-term,” she added.

*If you have been affected by this article, you can call the Samaritans on 116123.

For more details on the work of Samaritans and how to contact them visit samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/contact-samaritan/

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