‘Change needed at hospital’

Serious allegations: Burnley General Hospital
Serious allegations: Burnley General Hospital

A Reedley woman who has battled mental health problems for the past eight years says she wants to see changes to the standard of care on offer at Burnley General Hospital.

The 37-year-old, who wants to remain anonymous, is the second complainant to approach the Express in just one month.

She wants to show that the case of the 16-year-old student, who was allegedly discharged while openly admitting to feeling suicidal and a danger to others, is not an isolated incident.

Having been to various hospitals across the Trust, including Lancaster and Chorley, she claims Burnley does not have the same “compassion and care” when dealing with those suffering with mental health issues.

She says she has raised various concerns, including with Lancashire Care and the Care Quality Commission, about the hospital’s level of support.

According to the resident she is well-known to the mental health services, having jumped in front of a train in the past and having self-harmed and overdosed.

Her allegations include:

- On two occasions she has been sectioned, asked if she has razor blades, to which she has said no.

- She has then, she says, had her knees and ankles tied together, has been handcuffed by police, and has been stripped. She complained about this incident, but said it has now happened a second time and that she is now “scared” of going to the hospital.

- She has been discharged at times when she was feeling suicidal. She is said to have told hospital staff that she intends on taking her own life, and allegedly she was told “we hope you don’t, see you next week”. She has then gone home, taken an overdose, and consequently been blue-lighted to Royal Blackburn Hospital where she spent the weekend in coronary care.

The resident, who is also concerned about the way carers, like her mum, are treated, said: “The incident with the young girl is not an isolated incident and I and others I know who suffer with similar issues have found ourselves in a similar situation. I am concerned that services are playing with people’s lives and am afraid someone will die as a result. All I want is appropriate care for other people who also suffer as I do.”

The resident also said she is worried about the stigma that can be attached to mental health. Self-harming, she says, is not a way of seeking attention, but is an expression “of how you feel”.

Responding, Dee Roach, director of nursing at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are concerned by the issues that have been raised and whilst we cannot comment on individual patient cases we are investigating these matters fully.

“The Trust is committed to delivering the highest standards of care and compassion and we will work with our patients to improve their experience of our services.”