Tragic Hinckley teenager's family calls for patients 'at risk' to be searched
The family of a teenager who died after taking an overdose on a mental health ward is calling for compulsory searches of "at risk" patients.
Laura Dickins died at the Bradgate Unit, at Glenfield Hospital, after smuggling in a fatal number of her stepfather's heart tablets following a home visit.
The 19-year-old, who had a history of self-harming, could not be revived despite attempts by an emergency team.
A 10-day inquest, held in August, heard there were shortcomings in the way the Hinckley teenager was treated on the evening she died in November 2010.
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Yesterday, a hearing was held to see if coroner Donald Coutts-Wood should suggest changes in policies and procedures used by the Leicestershire Partnership Trust (LPT) – which runs mental and community health services in the county – and the Universities of Leicester Hospital Trust (UHL).
Sarah Hemingway, representing Laura's family, told the hearing at Leicester Town Hall: "Health and safety considerations must be paramount. We would ask that people like Lauren should be searched on return from home visits to ensure they do not possess materials with which they could self-harm or hurt others."
Miss Hemingway said people suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD) should at least be assessed to see if a search was justified, with the details recorded.
She also said BPD sufferers should be treated in a separate unit with higher levels of security.
She also called for better levels of record-keeping by staff.
Iain Daniels, appearing on behalf of LPT, said: "We would say compulsory searches could be detrimental to the therapeutic relationship with the patients."
He said the trust was working to improve the level of record-keeping.
The inquest heard there were issues over how the crash team which treated Laura had been called and staffed.
Mr Coutts-Wood wrote to the trusts seeking answers to several questions raised by the jury.
Caroline Cross, for UHL, which runs the crash team, stressed that changes had already been implemented. Miss Cross said she believed the trust had responded to all the issues raised by the coroner.
Mr Coutts-Wood said it would be at least two weeks before he made a decision on whether or not he would send a rule 43 report to tell the trusts to make more changes.