Peter Barnes inquest: nurse thought he would be drinking in park (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Peter Barnes inquest: nurse thought he would be drinking in park
A nurse told a 999 operator that a missing psychiatric patient was probably sitting somewhere with a couple of lagers because nine out of ten times that is what they do, an inquest heard.
Donna Bingley, a senior nurse at the privately-run Cygnet Hospital in Wyke, was giving evidence yesterday at the inquest into the death of 31-year-old Peter Barnes, who disappeared on a 30-minute unsupervised cigarette break on October 13, 2011.
Mr Barnes was found hanged in the hospital grounds a week later.
A post-mortem examination has revealed he was likely to have died only a few hours after he went missing.
The jury yesterday heard the 999 call in which the nurse told the operator Mr Barnes had a long-history of violent behaviour when unwell and he could be of risk to others when his medication wore off.
But she made no mention of potential self-harm – although she did say he had been getting a bit anxious lately.
Miss Bingley told the inquest: “I wasn’t demanding they get the helicopters out. I was just following procedure to report it to the police.”
The jury heard when the operator asked her: “So is there any genuine concern at all?” she had replied: “I think really he will just have gone off and have a couple of cans of Stella or make his way home to Lincoln, but I think he will be sat somewhere with a couple of cans of Stella”, adding “Usually they go up to the Co-op”.
She continued that nine out of ten times patients going missing would buy beer and sit in the park.
The operator then marked the report as standard saying she would escalate it as time went on.
The inquest was told the hospital had already followed its AWOL policy before alerting police and had searched all its rooms, wards, locked areas and the grounds.
Two staff had been out in a car looking for him.
The nurse told the jury she believed Mr Barnes, who was being detained under the Mental Health Act, had come to Cygnet due to his violent behaviour and because he had attacked a doctor at his previous unit.
She said she had not been aware he had talked about ending his life or that he had been seen days earlier with red marks around his neck.
Last week the inquest heard hospital consultant Dr Keith Rix, who sanctioned Mr Barnes’s unescorted leave that day, that he had not been aware of the marks or the conversation about a plan how to end life with shoelaces either.
Neither had those details been flagged up by nurses to the ward manager responsible for safety.
The hearing continues.