Parents will take action against Trust

THE parents of a teenage girl who left a psychiatric hospital and committed suicide off a multi-storey car park say they will take action against the people responsible for her care.

THE parents of a teenage girl who left a psychiatric hospital and committed suicide off a multi-storey car park say they will take action against the people responsible for her care.

Charlotte Clarke, of Sandford, died after she caught a bus run by Barrow Hospital in Barrow Gurney into Bristol and fell 100ft off an NCP car park roof.

After an inquest into her death last week, Charlotte's parents, Damian and Alex Clarke, said they plan to take action against Avon and Wiltshire Health Partnership NHS Trust, which ran the hospital, for negligence.

In April 2005, Charlotte, aged 18, was admitted to Barrow Hospital after she tried to commit suicide.


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At the inquest into her death at Kings Weston House in Bristol, a jury heard that on her first night there she wrote on her room walls in blood.

After an assessment in May 2005, Charlotte was found to have an 'emotionally unstable personality disorder, borderline type' and often self harmed.

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On the night of her death, Charlotte was seen catching a bus service used by staff to get from Barrow Hospital to Bristol Royal Infirmary.

The bus driver told members of the jury in a statement that she was supposed to be told about people who were not allowed to catch the bus but was unaware that Charlotte was one of them.

Staff at the hospital noticed Charlotte was not around at a check at 8pm on July 20 and were still not worried about her absence at the next check an hour later.

Just before 9pm Charlotte, a former St Bernadette's Catholic School pupil, was seen falling from the NCP car park in Lower Castle Street, Bristol, leaving behind a canvas bag and a pair of black trainers on the roof.

On the final day of the four-day inquest, seven of the nine jury members returned a verdict of suicide, but said Avon and Wiltshire Health Partnership took appropriate measures to safeguard her life.

Charlotte's father, Damian, aged 48, said: "When the trust's representative gave evidence, my wife and I mutually felt that her answers and explanations to the coroner and us were cold and uncaring.

"We will now be taking negligence action against the trust."

The trust's medical director, Susan O'Connor, said: "After Charlotte died we carried out a thorough investigation to find out what went wrong and what could be done differently. The trust takes all incidents extremely seriously and we are continually re-evaluating our policies and procedures to reduce risk and to improve treatment and care.

"Since her death we have made a number of changes to reduce risks for service users for our in-patients. These have included new and revised policies and improved systems including stronger risk management.

"We would like to offer our condolences to Charlotte's family and friends."

*To leave a tribute for Charlotte click on the obituaries section of our website on www.thewestonmercury.co.uk

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