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Focus: new stats detail extent of unauthorised leave from mental health care

Focus: new stats detail extent of unauthorised leave from mental health care

Friday 11 September 2020

Focus: new stats detail extent of unauthorised leave from mental health care

Friday 11 September 2020

New figures show that health staff in Jersey have recorded a patient as not returning to mental health care at the expected time 32 times in the last two years.

27 of the incidents involved individuals being cared for at Orchard House.

The statistics record 'incidents' and don't show the actual number of different patients involved. 

Five involved cases at Cedar Ward and Maple Ward, which provide care for islanders over the age of 65.

The figures were released following a request made by Express under the Freedom of Information Law in the wake of the four-day disappearance of a Cedar Ward patient in July.


Pictured: Orchard House has recorded 27 incidents of patients leaving without permission in the last two years.

The Government subsequently launched a probe into the incident and “all relevant procedures”

In the previous 3 years, from 2015 to 2018, there were 40 incidents of people not returning to care at the expected time, resulting in 188 hours of police searches. 


Pictured: The numbers of incidents of patients leaving without permission given to Express after an FOI request. 

Though Express also requested the number of hours involved and the cost of the searches in its latest request, these were not provided.

The Government said that “States of Jersey Police Data does not distinguish whether an individual is under an Article of the Mental Health (Jersey) Law 2016” and that “costing and time spent is not available.”

Express contacted Jersey Police, but was given no comment as they said it concerned the Health Department.

Speaking to Express following the release of the latest statistics, Medical Director Patrick Armstrong emphasised that everyone applying for leave from the island’s mental health facilities has an "individual plan based on their circumstances and they are risk assessed as to what the concerns may be." 

That is the case whether they are “detained under law or on a voluntary process,” he said.

He added that there was “ongoing work to continually improve mental health services” and mental health plans for individuals.


Pictured: Medical Director Patrick Armstrong said that every patient is risk assessed prior to being granted leave.

The CEO of a charity supporting islanders receiving psychiatric care recently praised the Government for the improvements carried out at Orchard House, which she said had helped turn the "Cinderella in rags" facility into a "safe and pleasant therapeutic environment."

These included physical improvements to the facility, as well as the introduction of more social activities.

Hopes for further improvements to the mental health service are currently pinned on the £7.3 million revamp to the Clinique Pinel Ward in St Saviour’s Hospital.

Work began on the new facility, which will replace Orchard House, on Monday. 

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