Hotelier Feels Let Down Over Distressed Patient

St Mary's Hospital

An Islands’ hotel manager says she feels angry and let down by the health services on Scilly following an incident where a guest suffering severe mental distress was eventually accompanied from the islands by Police.

Joan Shiles from St Mary’s Hall Hotel said she rang the hospital for help and advice, but was left to deal with the guest for two days with very little support.

At one point, Joan says she was told she should evict the guest onto the street and let the Police deal with the problem, which she refused to do as the person was in such poor state.

Joan praised the actions of the Police, the Council’s Adult Social Services team and Park House staff in helping to resolve the situation as best they could. Without them, she says, she would have been unable to continue running the hotel.

But Joan, a former psychiatric nurse, says she feels the hospital left her, “without any real answers” at a time when she needed advice on how to deal with the situation.

She added, there is, “never, ever any good reason to leave someone in distress like that.”

Joan says she hopes that in the future, if an accommodation owner rang the hospital, they would provide appropriate contacts and advice to deal with the situation.

Local GP, Dr John Garman from the Health Centre, said St Marys Hospital is not equipped to look after mental health patients and does not have a registration with the Care Quality Commission to look after such patients, although there are procedures in place on the Islands to deal with mental health problems.

Dr Garman said there is an approved doctor with specific mental health training on the Islands at all times who can assess a patient, and if it is felt appropriate, an approved social worker will then be flown from the mainland to assist with the mental health assessment.

He said the issue of a place of safety is currently not resolved. A draft policy was laid out to upgrade the facilities at the hospital to provide a place of safety. However it could not be ratified as not all agencies on the Island would sign up to it, meaning, he said, that they could not ensure the security of either the patients involved, or the other patients in the hospital.

The Primary Care Trust issued a statement yesterday evening, which said: “On behalf of all agencies involved in health and care on Scilly we are very sorry to hear about this patient’s experiences. There will be a thorough investigation to establish the facts and we will provide further comment on services for islanders and holidaymakers in due course.”