More staff for Mile End psychiatric ward with 3 violent deaths in 10 months

Health care bosses are tonight reassuring the public about the safety of a major London psychiatric hospital after a patient was killed by another and two other violent deaths—all in one ward in the past 12 months.

The reassurance follows earlier warnings from Unison health workers’ union that budget cuts would put staff and patients at risk at Mile End Hospital, where up to 119 in-patients are treated in London’s East End.

Prodip Debnath died from stab wounds after being attacked in Roman ward by another patient last April. The other patient was later found guilty of manslaughter.

Unison had already warned East London NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, that reducing nursing cover could put patients at risk.

A second patient died in Roman ward last year after putting a plastic bag over his head and suffocating. A third incident occurred in February in the same ward when a woman was found dead.

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“We have worked hard to learn from these tragic incidents,” the trust’s medical director Dr Tim Lambert said in a statement to the Advertiser on Tuesday.

“I want to reassure users and carers that we are committed to the safety of people who need our treatment and care. We have completed a series of actions to improve safety.”

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The trust, which is making �20 million cuts over three years, has increased staffing in the wards since the three violent deaths and has altered the physical lay-out “to improve safety.”

Trust bosses at the �35 million centre, which opened in Bancroft Road just four years ago, are also in talks with the union to make savings “without compromising” safety.

A trust spokeswoman said: “It is important that we discuss solutions and consider different ways of working. This is being done with trade union representatives.”

The NHS Care Quality Commission watchdog made an unannounced visit to Roman ward in November for a routine inspection and again in December, just two months before the third death in 10 months.

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