Security Problems At Manchester Mental Health Ward

MENTAL health patients have fled from a Manchester hospital ward four times in four weeks. The M.E.N has been contacted by the anxious relatives and friends of three patients on Oxford ward, at Manchester Royal Infirmary, concerned about poor security on the unit.

One told how his friend, a 19-year-old seriously ill psychiatric patient who was sectioned for his own safety, apparently forced open a window at the Edale Unit, off Oxford Road, and broke out. It is understood the same patient has escaped through a window there twice.

The hospital has now revealed to the M.E.N that there have been four separate ‘absent without leave’ (AWOL) incidents on the ward, involving three patients, since the beginning of January.

It is understood the safety and security of doors and windows is now being looked at as part of a review of the ward. Some patients on the unit are sectioned while others are there voluntarily. They are meant to remain on the ward unless given permission for leave.

A spokeswoman for Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust said: “There were four separate AWOL incidents in January, involving three patients.

“We are reviewing the ward environment and in each case working with the patient to develop their care plan appropriately.”

She added: “We are looking into all elements that may have contributed to the patients going absent without leave, including the ward itself, to minimise a reoccurrence.”

In the case of the 19-year-old, he was returned to the unit after staff realised he’d gone missing and contacted police.

His friend said: “He is in hospital because he needs help but we are terrified something will happen to him because they just can’t seem to keep him on the ward.

“We do not understand how he can keep getting out. It is not good enough.”

The man, who has a long history of mental health problems, was admitted to Oxford ward two months ago.


He has already gone missing from the unit three times.

The M.E.N has been contacted by two other concerned relatives complaining about poor security there in recent weeks.

One service user described the running of the ward as ‘a total mess’.

The trust spokeswoman said: “A patient went missing, as soon as we were aware we informed the police so he could be returned safely as soon as possible. We are investigating how he managed to abscond from the ward.”