Lancashire

Violent mental health patient escapes Blackpool secure hospital

The Harbour on Windmill Rise, Blackpool Image copyright Google
Image caption The patient was returned to The Harbour hospital on Preston New Road

A violent mental health patient escaped from an "under pressure" psychiatric unit before being caught by police near a holiday park, it has emerged.

The man was captured in a field near Marton Mere in Blackpool and returned to The Harbour hospital in the town.

The 24 October incident came after Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust was criticised for its mental health crisis services earlier this year.

The trust said patient and visitor safety was "our number one priority".

Following a Care Quality Commission inspection in January and February its rating fell from "good" to "requires improvement".

Deputy chief inspector of hospitals Dr Paul Lelliott said it was "disappointing" the trust had "declined".

'Robust procedures'

He said: "The trust has been under pressure notably in mental health crisis services and the child and adolescent mental health wards.

"The board and senior management team did not have sufficient oversight of staff supervision; particularly in some core services, where rates of ongoing appraisal and supervision were too low and have not improved since our last inspection."

A trust spokesman said: "Whilst we are unable to discuss details relating to an individual's care due to confidentiality reasons, we can confirm that the safety of our patients, staff and visitors is our number one priority at all times, and we have robust procedures in place to manage their safety.

"Ensuring the safe staffing of all elements of our services is a priority."

Lancashire Police confirmed officers dealt with a violent patient after receiving a call from staff.

A spokesman said: "When police officers arrived, the man had escaped but was found in a field behind the Harbour. He was returned to the hospital."

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