A care provider has been charged in connection with the death of a patient who escaped from a mental health hospital. Matthew Caseby, 23, managed to leave Priory Hospital Woodbourne in Birmingham after being left unattended for a few minutes in September 2020, according to the findings of an inquest jury. The provider, Priory Healthcare, now faces charges of exposing a patient to a significant risk of avoidable harm.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) launched an investigation following the inquest and charged the care provider with two criminal offences under the Health and Safety Act 2008. Priory Healthcare has chosen not to comment on the charges. Mr. Caseby, a personal trainer from London, climbed over the courtyard fence and was tragically hit by a train near Birmingham’s University station the following day.
He had been detained under the Mental Health Act by Thames Valley Police on September 3, after reports of him running onto railway tracks in a village north of Oxford. The inquest jury concluded that his death was contributed to by neglect, as he should have been under constant observation but was left alone.
Birmingham and Solihull senior coroner Louise Hunt expressed her ongoing concerns regarding the quality of record-keeping, the completion of risk assessments, and the safety of the hospital’s fence. The care provider is now scheduled to appear before magistrates in Birmingham on November 24. If found guilty, they could face an unlimited fine.
The tragic incident has prompted a wider investigation by the CQC, which aims to ensure the safety and well-being of patients in mental health hospitals. The charges against the care provider highlight the importance of proper supervision and risk assessment protocols to prevent avoidable harm to vulnerable individuals.
The outcome of this case will hopefully serve as a reminder to all care providers of the crucial responsibility they have in providing adequate care and support to patients in their custody. The safety and well-being of patients should always be the top priority, and incidents like these underscore the need for constant vigilance and adherence to established protocols.
The CQC’s investigation will likely result in recommendations for improved practices and procedures within mental health hospitals, with the aim of preventing similar incidents in the future. The tragic death of Matthew Caseby should serve as a catalyst for change in the mental health care sector, ensuring that all patients receive the necessary support, supervision, and care to prevent avoidable harm.