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£80,000 fine over patient's fall from hospital roof

Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP), which provides mental health services for a wide area including all of Wiltshire, has been fined £80,000 (August 20) after admitting it had failed to provide safe care and treatment to people in its care.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) brought the prosecution following an incident at Applewood Ward, an inpatient mental health ward unit in Swindon that cares for adults with severe mental health problems who need to be admitted to hospital. 

Sentence was adjourned in May when AWP pleaded guilty. On 22 January 2016 an inpatient, gained access to a low roof area from the garden of Applewood Ward and declined to come down.  The emergency services were unable to persuade the patient to come down.

After over eleven hours, the patient fell from the roof - sustaining a number of serious injuries including an open fracture of their left femur, tibia fractures, along with facial, skull, jaw and nasal fractures

CQC believe that the harm caused to this person could have been avoided.  The risk of the low roof at Applewood Ward had been highlighted since 2011.  AWP was also aware that previously many other patients had accessed the low roof.

AWP was fined £80,000 with prosecution costs of £12,033.96 and a £170 victim surcharge.

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