• Sheffield Children’s FT found mental health inpatients were continuing to abscond due to poor estates security
  • Medical director says trust must respond to increasing patient complexity

A specialist trust is doing a “detailed review” of the estates and facilities at a child and adolescent mental health unit because of a “number of absconders” who could be at risk of harm.

Sheffield Children’s Foundation Trust is undertaking the review of Becton Centre for Children and Young People, which provides inpatient services, day and outreach treatment for under 18s with serious mental health issues, after it was found that patients have “continued” to escape its units.

The trust’s quality committee said in its quarterly report although the risk to patients coming to significant harm was rare, it was still a concern.

The committee also highlighted the issue of “lead in time” for making changes to improve security on the units due to the “bespoke nature of these fittings”. It said it has requested such changes were done in a “timely manner” because of the patient safety concern.

It added that there were “other issues” arising from the “increasingly complex conditions” of the centre’s patients.

Medical director Jeff Perring told HSJ that “extensive” security updates have been taking place as the trust needs to respond to the “increasing patient acuity and complexity”.

Dr Perring added: “Patient safety is always our top priority and therefore we have been working to resolve these matters straight away. All of the high priority work has been completed and our more detailed review of the estates and facilities is ongoing.”

It was also requested by the quality committee that the reporting of trend data, including the number of detentions and absconder cases be included within future quarterly reports.