Investigation pledge in Blackpool mental health unit hanging shock

The Harbour
The Harbour
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An investigation is underway after a female patient at Blackpool’s £40m new mental health unit died after hanging herself.

The woman was found on one of the wards at The Harbour not breathing after tying a ligature around her neck, The Gazette understands.

She was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital by ambulance where she was transferred to the intensive care unit.

It is understood she was placed in a medically-induced coma but died later.

Bosses at The Harbour, a purpose built state-of-the-art facility off Preston New Road, which only opened in March, admitted a “serious incident” had taken place at the site but refused to confirm if the woman had died.

In a statement, Sue Moore (pictured), Chief Operating Officer at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said: ““It is with the greatest regret that we can confirm there has been a serious incident at The Harbour, involving a female who was a patient on one of our wards.

“Our main priority at this stage is to offer support to her family, who are understandably very distressed and our thoughts and condolences are with them at this difficult time.

“We have initiated a full and thorough independent investigation of this incident which will establish both the facts and circumstances.

“As such it would not be appropriate to pre-empt this by commenting any further at this stage.”

The Gazette understands the female patient was found unresponsive in The Harbour on July 13, but the information only came to light last week.

The Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust also refused to confirm if any members of staff had been suspended following the incident.

A whistleblower told The Gazette: “Those involved have been suspended.

“My guess is they (the NHS Trust) will want this covered up.”

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said: “It is very sad and concerning that a fatality has occurred and particularly so soon after The Harbour has opened.

“Everyone will I am sure want to see a thorough investigation completed as soon as possible.”

The Harbour caters for people from the elderly living with dementia or mothers with post natal depression, to people suffering acute psychiatric problems.

The 154-bed unit comprises a psychiatric intensive care unit, dementia unit and functional acute unit as well as a gym, sports hall, tribunal suites and reflective space in open surroundings.

All rooms are now single occupancy, en-suite, many with country views, while communal spaces lead on to outdoor areas.

Around 500 staff are based at the unit.