Patient safety

17.05.18

Trust boss apologises for care failings of student found dead after fleeing hospital

Sussex Partnership NHS FT has issued a public apology about the care that Janet Müller received from the trust.

Müller was “unlawfully killed” by Christopher Jeffrey-Shaw in 2015 after she absconded from Mill View Hospital in Hove. Just 10 days before her death, she was admitted to the hospital after telling her family that she wanted to die, and once there she was formally sectioned.

The 21-year-old student left the hospital on 12 March 2015 and was killed the following day. Her body was found in the boot of a burnt-out car near Horsham.

In 2016, Jeffrey-Shaw was jailed for 17 years for manslaughter.

The trust has acknowledged that she should not have been able to leave the hospital in that way whilst she was under its care. It therefore agreed with her family that it would issue an apology as part of the conclusion of civil proceedings.

Speaking on behalf of the foundation trust, chief executive Sam Allen said that he wanted apologise “unreservedly” to the woman’s family.

“I have met with them and heard about the impact of their loss, as well as their experience of the criminal proceedings, Coroner’s inquest and civil proceedings that followed,” he said.

“I have apologised to them in person and agreed with them I would do so again in public.”

Allen acknowledged that Müller did not receive the care that she should have, and that the hospital had not recognised the extent of her desire to leave the hospital. In fact, Müller had left the hospital once already earlier on that same day, with a member of the public alerting the police.

“Following her return to the ward, we should have fully evaluated the risk of her trying to leave hospital again. We should then have made sure she was kept within eyesight of a member of staff at all times in order to support her and keep her safe,” the CEO continued.

In addition, he recognised that clinical records had not been kept up to date while she was under the care of the hospital, even after her first abscondment.

“Meeting with Janet’s family reinforced to me the need to look long and hard at how we work with, listen to and support the families of people who use our services,” Allen concluded. “It is so important we get this right and we will continue doing everything possible to achieve this.”

Top image: PA images

 

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