Suicide verdict of Keighley man found hanged

Keighley News: Ian Dugdale, who was found hanged after being released from hospital Ian Dugdale, who was found hanged after being released from hospital

A mental health patient who killed himself while on hospital leave had tried twice before to take his life when allowed home, an inquest has heard.

Ian Dugdale, 47, of Heatherbank Avenue in Keighley, was found hanged on March 13 this year while still a voluntary patient at Airedale Centre for Mental Health. He had also taken a toxic level of prescribed anti-depressants.

His death triggered a serious untoward incident report by Bradford District Care Trust, and has led to more support being given to patients on leave at home, rather than checks on their progress being carried out by phone from the hospital ward, the inquest in Bradford was told on Tuesday.

Mr Dugdale’s partner, Christina McArthur, told the coroner’s court he should never have been let off the ward, and she felt her concerns had not been listened to at the time.

She asked his psychiatric consultant, Dr Jeremy Hyde, who was giving evidence: “How many times does it take for someone to try to kill themselves before alarm bells start ringing?”

Dr Hyde said the hospital had tried to slowly rehabilitate Mr Dugdale, and there had been no pressure to discharge him from in-patient care – despite having to justify beds being occupied for more than six-week stays, and with more money from the trust being channelled away from ward care and into caring more for patients in the community to avoid people becoming institutionalised.

The inquest heard how although risk assessments were always carried out before a patient was given leave, Mr Dugdale had told staff he felt safe on the ward and did feel anxious about going home.

Mr Dugdale, who had severe anxiety and an obsessional personality, had first become depressed after the first anniversary of his mother’s death.

Recording a verdict of suicide, assistant Bradford coroner Dr Dominic Bell said: “It’s very dificult for me to believe there had been any neglect on behalf of the mental health care organsiation. It’s clear the organsiation has understood its governance responsibilities by having conducted an investigation.”

Speaking afterwards, Mrs McArthur said: “I hope lessons have been learned, that families will be listened to more and that more support is given at home to patients on leave or moving into community care.”

Allison Bingham, deputy director of Bradford District Care Trust in-patient services, said: “Our thoughts and condolences are with the family.

“At the time of the incident, we conducted an internal investigation, which concluded this incident could not have been prevented and there was no shortfall in the care offered to Mr Dugdale. The Coroner accepted these findings.”

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