CHARGED; Hospital in court for failing to save Rhona.Byline: By MARION SCOTT
A HOSPITAL is being prosecuted for failing to stop a young patient hanging herself, the Sunday Mail can reveal.
Sunnyside Hospital Sunnyside Hospital 1863-1999, was the first mental asylum to be built in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was initally known as 'Sunnyside Lunatic Asylum', and its first patients were 17 people who had previously been kept in the Lyttleton gaol. in Montrose, Angus Coordinates: Montrose is a port, tourist resort and royal burgh in Angus, on the east coast of Scotland.
Early place names appear to show the presence of a Norse settlement in the area of the present harbour. , is the first in the UK to be charged over the suicide of a patient. The court action follows the death of Rhona McDonald, 37, who hanged herself from a window in her room at Sunnyside.
Bosses were charged last week with failing to remove fixtures previously identified as a hanging risk.
The psychiatric hospital's management, Tayside Primary Care NHS Trust National Health Service Trusts (NHS Trusts) provide many services of the National Health Service in England and Wales. They are not trusts in the legal sense but are in effect public sector corporations. , were charged at Arbroath Sheriff Court with failing to take adequate measures to stop Rhona hanging herself.
The historic legal move has been welcomed by mental health campaigners determined to halt the rise of suicides in Scotland, which reached 878 last year.
The trust face a number of criminal charges under Health and Safety legislation in connection with Rhona's death on November 3, 2001.
They were charged with failing to ensure patients within ward 8 at Sunnyside were not exposed to health and safety risks between April 1999 and November 2001.
They were also charged with failing to remove fixtures, making them inaccessible, or taking any other equally effective measures to reduce the risk of hanging.
Last night, Rhona's father Ken, 59, of Arbroath, said: ``We've been waiting for this moment since my daughter died.
``No family should ever have to face losing a loved one like this. It's not something you ever come to terms with, and we miss Rhona dreadfully.''
The court case has been applauded by mental health campaigner Alex Doherty.
Alex's brother Joseph, 30, jumped to his death from the Erskine Bridge The Erskine Bridge is a cable-stayed box girder bridge spanning the River Clyde in west central Scotland, connecting West Dunbartonshire with Renfrewshire. During construction of the bridge, a major collapse of the West Gate Bridge in Australia, a bridge of a similar construction, 11 years ago after absconding from Gartnavel Hospital in Glasgow despite being on ``suicide watch''.
Alex said: ``Criminal charges should be taken against any hospital which fails to take proper safety measures safety measures,
n.pl actions (e.g., use of glasses, face masks) taken to protect patients and office personnel from such known hazards as particles and aerosols from high-speed rotary instruments, mercury vapor, radiation exposure, anesthetic and . The deaths of hundreds of vulnerable mental health patients have been ignored for years.''
Ian Harper, of the National Schizophrenia Fellowship, said: ``Hospital patients under close observation should never be able to kill themselves, yet they do in alarming numbers.
``We support the Crown Office for taking this stance.''
Tayside Primary Care NHS Trust said they were unable to comment. The Crown Office said: ``We believe this is the first prosecution of this kind in the country.''
Hanging victim: Rhona McDonald; Historic move: Sunnyside Hospital in Montrose