Parents of young Scottish girl 'kept in the dark' over dangers of her relationship with fellow patient in psychiatric unit

A teenage girl placed in an adult psychiatric unit in Edinburgh had an “overly tactile” relationship with a fellow patient, according to a nursing report.

Friday, 8th November 2019, 6:23 pm
A new IPCU will be a part of the redevelopment of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital campus. Picture: NHS Lothian

The parents of the 17-year-old girl have said they were “kept in the dark” over the risks.

The mother of the teenage girl previously told the BBC her daughter felt sexually unsafe in a mixed unit with eight much older men and a woman.

Two months after her daughter left the Edinburgh unit she has been given a nursing report from the time.

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It expresses concern about her girl’s relationship with one of the patients.

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The report, written after she had been in the unit for four days, said the pair were “overly tactile with one another” and holding hands.

Both parents who wish to remain anonymous, said they were shocked and sickened that they had not been made aware of the nurse’s concerns at the time.

Intensive Psychiatric Care Units (ICPUs) are designed to look after patients who cannot be managed on open wards because of the level of risk they pose to themselves or others.

The teenage girl, who cannot be named, spent 18 days in an adult IPCU in Edinburgh in August.

Her mother said at the time the unit was totally unsuitable for a vulnerable young girl and men looked at her daughter in sexually inappropriate ways and followed her around.

She said she was “disappointed and disgusted” at not being told the whole truth about the risks she was exposed to.

The girl’s father, said the documents shedding light on their daughter’s care were handed over after repeated requests.

He said: “Their communication is abysmal. You’re kept in the dark.

“No-one higher up seems really interested in solving problems that were obvious to anyone who goes in that place.”

Gap in provisions

The secure IPCU in Edinburgh is reserved for the most seriously ill adults. Recognising the gap in provision, the Scottish Government says a new, secure inpatient facility for children and young people will open in 2021.

NHS Lothian said in a statement: “In these circumstances, patients receive a minimum of 1:1 care and round-the-clock supervision to ensure their safety and are allocated single bedroom accommodation.”

They also said there is no ICPU for young people under the age of 18 in Scotland, therefore to receive this level of mental health care and treatment adult units had to be used.