NHS condemned for lapse

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AN ELLON man has been left distraught after claiming that an error by NHS Grampian had left his mentally ill wife’s life in danger.

Donald Penfold, of Park Terrace, told the Times that wife Crystal had been allowed to leave Royal Cornhill Hospital in Aberdeen, despite having twice attempted to take her own life.

Mr Penfold, who moved to Ellon in January, is carer to his wife, who lives with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Last Friday, Mrs Penfold was admitted to Royal Cornhill Hospital after an episode of poor mental health.

However, according to her husband, she was able to sign herself out of the hospital and make her way back to the couple’s home in Ellon - despite having twice attempted suicide at the hospital, and being in no fit state to travel on her own.

Mrs Penfold has now returned to Royal Cornhill, after deteriorating at home and having self-harmed.

However her husband alleges that the lapse could have cost his wife her life, and that staff had acted unprofessionally by allowing her to sign herself out.

He has subsequently written to both NHS Grampian and MSP Alex Salmond’s office to ask for the matter to be investigated.

Speaking to the Times, Mr Penfold said: “The whole situation has been very unprofessional. Staff at the hospital were aware of her condition, yet they still allowed her to leave.

“I have written to the chief executive of NHS Grampian, Richard Carey, and MSP Alex Salmond, and the police and social work department are aware of the situation.

“I can only hope that nothing like this happens again. I am confident, however, that the matter will be investigated thoroughly.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said that the health body had received a complaint, and were investigating the matter.

She said: “We can confirm that we have received Mr Penfold’s letter.

“We take every complaint made against us very seriously and each one is thoroughly investigated. We will respond directly to Mr Penfold in due course.”