Bristol

Chris Dunning: Secure unit patient's drug death 'accidental'

Chris Dunning Image copyright Debbie Dunning
Image caption Chris Dunning was admitted to a medium secure unit in 2016

A patient on leave from a medium secure unit in Bristol who died from a drugs overdose should not have been allowed out unescorted, an inquest has found.

Prisoner Chris Dunning was admitted to Blackberry Hill hospital in 2016 for schizophrenia and heroin addiction.

In 2018 he was permitted hospital leave for two hours. Two days later his body was found in Weston-super-Mare.

An NHS Trust said it was "confident" staff followed the "correct assessment and procedures" for his leave request.

The 31-year-old was admitted to the medium secure Fromeside unit in 2016 and was still undergoing treatment when his prison sentence ended.

The inquest heard, he had been caught twice in 2017 using illegal drugs and alcohol whilst undergoing treatment and had absconded during one period of escorted leave.

On 26 January 2018, he was given permission to leave the hospital unescorted and two days later he was found dead from an overdose.

After a five-day inquest at Flax Bourton, the jury returned a narrative verdict, concluding his death was accidental.

But jurors said there had been a "failure to review and reconsider the type of leave allowed" and it had been "inappropriate for him to be allowed to leave" unescorted.

Sarah Constantine, from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership, said: "Part of Christopher's care was to allow him access to leave which had been fully assessed and reviewed by the clinical team and discussed with him.

"We are confident that our staff followed the correct assessment and procedures around Christopher's request for leave."

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