Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Compensation for Suicide Spreads to Great Britain

The family of a psychiatric patient who committed suicide by jumping in front of a train has won £10,000 compensation from the NHS Trust on the grounds that it failed to protect her.

Carol Savage, 50, died in July 2004 after she absconded from Runwell Hospital in Essex and walked two miles to Wickford station.

Mrs Savage’s daughter, Anna, started legal proceedings, seeking a declaration and damages under the Human Rights Act, on the basis that South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust had violated her mother’s right to life under Article 2 of the European Convention.

In a landmark judgment yesterday Mr Justice Mackay, at the High Court in London, ruled in her favour and said that Miss Savage was herself a victim under the Act.

He said: “The defendant Trust ought to have known of the relevant risk and ought to have taken precautions which would substantially have increased the chances of this tragedy being avoided.”

He refused the Trust, which had fought the case all the way to the Law Lords on a preliminary argument, permission to appeal, although it can apply to the Court of Appeal directly.

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