Health Board admits breaching health and safety law

Powys Local Health Board (LHB) has pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety law in relation to the death of Sylvan Money, a 26-year-old artist who committed suicide at Bronllys hospital near Brecon in 2004.

At a hearing at Llandrindod Magistrates’ Court, Powys LHB admitted there were “ligature points” in the psychiatric unit when Sylvan, who was suffering from chronic depression at the time of her death, was on suicide watch.

Dale Collins, prosecuting on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), told the court that ligature points were present despite a risk assessment carried out three years earlier (in 2001) which identified a “high likelihood of injury to patients” from fixtures and fittings on which suicidal patients could potentially hang themselves.

Magistrates declined to sentence yesterday after hearing the maximum fine they could impose was £20,000. The case will now come before Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court on September 18th.

The Health and Safety Executive brought the prosecution against the LHB under Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Powys LHB has already agreed to pay £40,000 towards the cost of the HSE investigation and prosecution costs.
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