Friday, December 12, 2008

Law Lords ruling on duty of care to inpatients

The Law Lords have ruled that people detained under the Mental Health Act have the same 'right to life' as those in prison. Hospitals must now be seen to take responsibility to take reasonable measures to avoid real and immediate harm to patients who have been sectioned. The ruling results from a case brought by Anna Savage against South Essex NHS Trust, concerning her mother Carol, who killed herself in July 2004 after absconding from Runwell Hospital where she was being detained. The ruling holds health authorities responsible for taking measures to properly assess and prevent the risk of suicide. The High Court had previously ruled that unless gross negligence could be established, they could not be held liable for a breach of the right to life.

You can read the MIND press release about this judgement at

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