Watchdog rules hospital gave man adequate care before he took overdose

Dr Gray's Hospital, Elgin.

A man took an overdose of prescription drugs two weeks after leaving a North-east hospital, a new report shows.

A representative of a mental health organisation complained to a watchdog that the man was not given reasonable care after leaving hospital and would have taken his own life.

However, the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) has now said NHS Grampian staff offered the man the appropriate levels of support.

The man, who has not been named, was a patient at Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin and had been discharged.

He contacted an independent mental health advocate, who complained on his behalf to SPSO.

A new SPSO report said: “The advocate complained in relation to community mental health nursing care the man received after discharge from Dr Gray’s.

“The man took a large overdose of alcohol and prescription drugs two weeks after discharge and said that, without the support of his family, he would have taken his own life.”

SPSO sought a mental health nursing adviser’s view and found the care offered to the man was reasonable.

“A nurse visited the man within five days of his discharge, which the adviser considered to be good practice,” said the report.

It added: “The nurses appropriately discussed coping strategies with the man and made sure he was aware of other sources of support available as they were going on leave for two weeks.

“We considered the aftercare provided by NHS Grampian was reasonable, although the adviser highlighted some shortcomings in the records, which we fed back to the board.”

This was because the records did not contain any evidence to support NHS Grampian’s claim staff involved the man in planning his post-discharge care.

The report said: “Aside from the shortcomings in record keeping, we considered the nursing care provided to the man to have been reasonable and we did not uphold the complaint.”

The advocate also complained that the man was not offered occupational therapy in hospital.

“We saw no evidence that occupational therapy input would have made a significant difference to how the man coped post discharge,” said the report.

An NHS Grampian spokeswoman said: “We have noted the SPSO’s decision.”