A teenager killed himself in Lewes Prison while being cared for by an NHS trust, Brighton Magistrates’ Court was told this afternoon (Wednesday 6 March).
The trust – Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – admitted failing to provide safe care and treatment for 19-year-old Jamie Osborne who hanged himself in February 2016.
It was the youngster’s second attempt to kill himself – prison staff had saved his life in November 2015 – and he was being cared for in the prison’s hospital wing.
Consultant psychiatrist Caroline Ardron had recommended that the schizophrenic teenager was transferred to a secure mental health hospital.
He was regarded as a high suicide risk but the transfer never took place.
Sussex Partnership, the mental health trust for Brighton and Hove and the wider county, entered a guilty plea this afternoon.
The prosecution was brought by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – the regulator for health and social care providers. It is believed to be only the second case of its kind.
District Judge Tessa Szagun adjourned the case for sentence on Thursday 2 May when she said that the trust could face an unlimited fine.
The CQC said that the trust, which runs Mill View Hospital in Hove, failed to “provide care and treatment in a safe way for service users and that failure resulted in avoidable harm to a care user”.
It criticised the trust for failing to manage the risk of suicide, for failing to check for ligature points and for failing to transfer him to a secure hospital.
The trust issued a statement after the hearing today. It said: “Our thoughts today are with Jamie Osborne’s family and friends.
“Jamie died on 12 February 2016 on the Healthcare Wing at Lewes Prison while under our care.
“In 2016 our investigation into Jamie’s death found clear failings for which we are deeply sorry.
“We have today pleaded guilty to the CQC’s prosecution for not providing Jamie with the safe care and treatment he and his family were entitled to expect.
“While we recognise the inadequacy of an apology, we offer one to Jamie’s family and friends in acknowledgment that Jamie was not provided with the care he deserved while an inpatient at HMP Lewes.”
Lewes in the local prison for Brighton and Hove and the wider Sussex area as well as housing prisoners from further afield.