Number of patients going missing from local mental health units ‘treble’

The number of patients going missing from Carseview has risen sharply.

More than one patient a week goes missing from mental health hospitals in Tayside, new figures have shown.

And the number of patients who go missing from Carseview more than trebled in the 10 months up to November this year, compared with the whole of 2016.

Figures provided to the Tele show between 76 and 84 patients were classed as missing from the region’s psychiatric units in 2017.

There were 36 people unaccounted for at the Carseview Centre this year, compared with just 11 in the previous 12 months.

Another 17 people from the Dudhope Centre — a young people’s inpatient unit (YPU) — also went missing this year, down from 35 in 2016.

The YPU is a mental health facility where young people who encounter emotional difficulties or a psychiatric illness affecting them and their families can spend time as an inpatient.

Dundee-based Conservative MSP Bill Bowman (pictured right) said: “This issue comes up year after year and I would like to know what attempts are made to find these patients.

“We are talking about some extremely vulnerable people that could be at significant risk — they cannot simply be treated as out-of-sight, out-of-mind.

“I’d be interested to know if the spike in numbers going missing from Carseview can be attributed in part to an increase in referrals, following the decision to close the Mulberry Unit at Stracathro Hospital.”

An NHS Tayside spokeswoman said: “NHS Tayside takes its duty of care to patients very seriously and has procedures for staff to follow in the case of a missing patient, developed in partnership with Police Scotland.

“The data collected within NHS Tayside does not separate the categories of absent and missing.

“A person may be absent for various reasons, including a late return to hospital from a visit home or an appointment, but that episode would be included within the data in the missing persons category.

“Unless patients are being detained in a secure facility, they are free to leave and can discharge themselves at any time, even against medical advice.”

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