Health board fined £200,000 after hospital patient took her own life

A 'breakdown in communication' was blamed for the fact Anne Clelland was not moved to a mental health facility.

Health board fined £200,000 after hospital patient took her own life iStock

A health board has been fined £200,000 after admitting to failings which led to a patient taking her own life in hospital.

Anne Clelland, who had a history of self-harm, was found unconscious in a bathroom at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in May 2015.

The 49-year-old died the next day in intensive care. 

A “breakdown in communication” was blamed for the fact Ms Clelland was not transferred to a mental health facility on the advice of a trainee physiatrist and instead remained on a general medical ward at the hospital.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) pled guilty to a breach of health and safety regulations following the death of Ms Clelland. 

Her family were said to be “devastated” by her death. 

When considering sentencing, Sheriff Principle Turnbull noted that the health board had previously had three vulnerable patients take their own lives while in their care. 

However he also took into account the financial difficulties the health board is currently facing, as well as “the pressures faced by the NHS in general”.

At Glasgow Sheriff Court on Friday, Sheriff Principal Turnbull fined the health board £200,000, reduced from £300,000 owing to a “prompt admission of guilt”.

In a statement, he said: “The harm caused could not have been greater – as a consequence of the board’s admitted failure Ms Clelland lost her life.”

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