SAFEGUARDING procedures for those at risk of suicide at Royal Blackburn Hospital have been called into question after a patient hanged himself on a ward.

Dr Terence Mullin, 53, was admitted to the medical assessment unit in the early hours on January 28 this year, after taking an intentional overdose of insulin, which resulted in severe hypoglycemia.

He was assessed by a mental health liaison nurse as being at high risk of further suicide attempts, and at 12.14am the next day he was found hanging.

Blackburn coroner Michael Singleton ruled that Dr Mullin, who lived in Daisy Mount, Maghull, near Liverpool, killed himself.

He criticised the hospital’s safeguarding procedures during an inquest at Blackburn coroner’s court.

He said: “The risk assessment in place in relation to risk of suicide within the medical assessment unit was insufficiently detailed and not fit for purpose.

“The controls in place were not adequate, there was no appropriate protocol.”

A spokesperson for East Lancs Hospitals NHS Trust and Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “This was a very tragic incident and our thoughts and condolences are with the friends and family of Dr Mullen.

“Lancashire Care and East Lancashire Hospital Trust are working together on an on-going investigation into the circumstances of his death on the medical assessment unit at the Royal Blackburn Hospital.

“When someone needs an admission to a mental health bed, every effort is made to find one as close to their home as possible. This is to enable the continuity of care in the local service where they are known to existing teams and professionals.

“However, East Lancashire Hospitals and Lancashire Care have a joint responsibility to provide care and treatment until an admission into a mental health unit can be made. This is a duty that is taken very seriously.

“As such a thorough review and improvement plan is on-going to improve the care provided in this setting and to reduce the risk of a patient coming to harm.”