North East Wales

Tawel Fan patient's care criticised by coroner

Glan Clwyd Hospital - Tawel Fan unit
Image caption Families described patients being treated like animals in a zoo at the Tawel Fan unit

A coroner has raised concerns about the treatment received by a woman who had been a patient at a ward at the centre of a care scandal.

Nancy Hughes, 83, who had dementia, was prescribed with an anti-psychotic drug while on Tawel Fan ward at Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan, Denbighshire.

Her inquest was told her family were not informed about its use, its continued use was not reviewed and that it could make falls more likely.

Mrs Hughes died as a result of a fall.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was put into special measures this week after a report found "institutional abuse" at the former mental health unit.

'Absence of proper system'

The inquest on Thursday was told evidence suggested taking Resperidone may make an elderly person more likely to fall.

But coroner John Gittins said it would be impossible to say if Mrs Hughes' fall would have been caused as a result of taking the medication.

In a letter sent to the family and read out at the Ruthin inquest, the currently suspended health board chief executive, Prof Trevor Purt, said "regrettably, there does not appear to be any evidence" that Mrs Hughes' use of the drug had been reviewed.

The coroner recorded a conclusion Mrs Hughes' death in January 2014 was accidental, a result of bronchial pneumonia brought on by a hip fracture.

She had sustained the injury in a fall at a care home in December 2013 after being discharged from the hospital ward five months earlier.

Mr Gittins said he would be writing to the health board asking them to explain what action had or was being taken to address "the absence of any proper system of review" due to Mrs Hughes' medication not being reviewed.

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