Care provider charged over death of vulnerable patient who absconded from hospital

A care provider has been charged with exposing a patient to a significant risk of avoidable harm after a vulnerable man was hit by a train after absconding from a mental health hospital.

Personal trainer Matthew Caseby (pictured), 23, was able to leave Birmingham’s Priory Hospital Woodbourne after being “inappropriately unattended” for several minutes in September 2020, an inquest jury ruled last April.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) launched an investigation after the inquest ended and has now charged Priory Healthcare with two criminal offences under the Health and Safety Act 2008.

The charges allege the care provider failed to provide safe care and treatment, which resulted in avoidable harm to a patient at the hospital, and exposed the patient to significant risk of avoidable harm.

Mr Caseby, who lived in London, climbed over a 2.3 metre-high (7ft 6in) courtyard fence before being hit by a train a day later near Birmingham’s University station on September 8 2020.

The NHS-funded patient was originally detained under the Mental Health Act after reports of a man running on to railway tracks near Oxford on September 3.

Concluding the inquest, Birmingham and Solihull senior coroner Louise Hunt said she remained concerned at record-keeping quality, how risk assessments are completed, other incidents and the safety of the fence at the hospital.

The inquest jury, which heard the University of Birmingham graduate should have been under constant observation but was left alone, reached a conclusion that his death “was contributed to by neglect”.

The CQC said the care provider will appear in court for a plea hearing at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on November 24 and face an unlimited fine if found guilty.

Priory Healthcare declined to comment.

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