Woman Settles Claim Against Mental Health Facility

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A claim for injury compensation has been settled following an incident with a patient being physical restrained in a mental health facility.

Following the death of his wife and carer Georgina in 2012, Ivor Betterridge (76) was moved to the Fiennes Centre in Banbury, Oxfordshire. The dementia-sufferer had a record of violent incidents against staff and fellow patients of the mental health care centre. However, the centre had to care plan in place to deal with these occasional violent outbreaks.

In February 2013, Ivor one of these outbursts occurred when nurses tried to bathe him. A male health care worker was called to try to restrain him. As a result of the tussle, Ivor fell and hit his head. However, there are conflicting reports as to how exactly this injury was sustained.

Tracy Betterridge-Ivor’s daughter-lodged a complaint to the Oxford Health NHS Trust. An investigation was launched into the accident. However, it was inconclusive, and was unable to find the exact cause of the accident due to different statements being offered by different employees of the centre. One claimed that Ivor stumbled and fell when the male employee released his grip on him, while another states that Ivor was pushed by the same employee.

The male health care assistant involved in the accident was suspended as a result of the investigation. The NHS Trust’s Director of Nursing and Clinical Standards sent Tracy a letter, in which they apologised for the injuries sustained by her father. The letter also acknowledged that the standard of care received by her father was below that which should be expected.

Ivor died in the Fiennes Centre in March of last year.

The NHS Trust admitted liability for the accident in May of the same year, offering Tracy £500 compensation, which she saw as inadequate. Tracy sought legal counsel, and made a claim for injury compensation against the centre. The claim was eventually settled for £3,600.

Tracy later told the local press of her dissatisfaction for how the case was handled. She stated: “I’m not happy at all. I wanted people, like managers, to be made responsible for it and to my mind that hasn’t happened. If they didn’t have somebody like me who stands their ground, nobody would be any the wiser. My father would be just another statistic that falls off the face of the planet.”

A spokesperson for the NHS Trust also released a statement following the negotiations: “Following our investigation into this incident, we found that no one individual was to blame for the injuries that were sustained. However insufficient staffing levels and some poor nursing practice did contribute to the patient’s subsequent fall”.

The spokesman added that the number of patients in the mental health facility has since been cut in number as to reduce the burden on the staff. The NHS Trust also stated that the staff undergo new training to learn to deal with such violent patients, and how to physically restrain them if necessary.

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