19th Oct, 2018

Suicide attempts spark safety fears over access to Coventry's University Hospital roof

Felix Nobes 10th Oct, 2018 Updated: 10th Oct, 2018

A PATIENT took their own life by jumping from the roof of Coventry’s University Hospital – while three other attempts were made in the last two years.

The four cases saw people trying to access the roof of the Arden Cancer Centre, threatening to self-harm or commit suicide, the UHCW Trust says.

The centre at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) provides specialist cancer care and treatment.

A patient died in April, sparking concerns about access to the centre’s roof.

Patients from all parts of the hospital can get onto it.

A trust board report for July said: “There have been multiple events where public, including patients, have accessed the roof above the Arden centre in a threatened attempt at suicide/self-harm.

“They have been rescued by security but due to the height of the roof if they had been successful the result of a successful attempt would be serious injury and potentially death.”

The report stated the risk was ‘high’ as the area was covered by CCTV but not ‘continuously monitored’.

Since then the trust has taken measures to prevent attempts.

A Trust spokesperson said: “Restricting access to the roof has been our priority.

“Fencing has been put up in key areas and metal grills have been fitted over stairwells.

“In the past year we have introduced a Patient Safety Team who respond to a variety of safety incidents, they identify immediate actions to reduce the risks to patients and the public.”

According to the latest Office for National Statistics figures Coventry’s suicide rate is soaring.

There were 36 suicides in the city last year which is the highest number since 2009.

And the rate has almost tripled since 2016 when there were 13 registered suicides.

Patients with cancer have a 20 per cent higher risk of suicide than the general population, a British Medical Journal analysis of national figures for England reported.

The June study found the risk of suicide was highest in the first six months after diagnosis.

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