Neglect at Priory hospital contributed to death of patient hit by train, jury finds

The NHS has been accused of using services that put “profit over patient safety” after an inquest found that Priory neglect contributed to a 23-year-old’s death.

Matthew Caseby was hit by a train after absconding from the Priory Hospital Woodbourne in Birmingham by jumping over a low fence in the facility’s gardens.

He had been sectioned just days earlier and had been transferred by the NHS to the private facility.

A jury concluded on Thursday that his “death was contributed to by neglect” on the part of the hospital after “inadequate” risk assessments and a failure to supervise him in the courtyard from which a number of patients have escaped.

After the verdict, his father Richard Caseby, 61, paid an emotional tribute to a “beautiful, gentle and intelligent young man” who “had so much promise”.

The family have fought for the truth surrounding his death after the NHS Trust responsible first claimed that he was still alive 42 days after his death and then refused to carry out an independent investigation for 100 days.  

‘How many more people must die?’

Mr Caseby said that while they could never bring their son back, “to prevent such tragedies ever happening again, NHS England should review its national policy of outsourcing mental health beds to a supplier like the Priory, which consistently fails to keep patients safe”.

Deborah Coles, director of the charity Inquest which has been supporting the family, added that the verdicts “once again demonstrates the inability of these services to change”. 

“We repeat the question, how many more people must die before the NHS and government reconsider commissioning services from a company that puts profit over patient safety?,” she said. 

Matthew, a personal trainer from south-west London, was transferred to the Priory Woodbourne by Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust after suffering a psychotic episode and being found by police running on railway lines.

He was assessed as a low suicide risk and his risk of running away was not properly recorded, although he had made several attempts, the court heard. 

Two days after his admission on the afternoon of September 7, he made his escape over a low courtyard fence. Despite a desperate search mounted by his family, he was hit and killed when he stepped in front of the train the next morning.

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