Investigation after two patients at mental health unit were taken to hospital after taking drugs not prescribed to them

Guild Lodge, in Whittingham, near Preston
Guild Lodge, in Whittingham, near Preston
  • Patients got access to medicine not intended for them
  • Unit bosses launch investigation
  • Police and CQC were informed after the incident
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HEALTH bosses are investigating after two patients at a mental health unit were taken to hospital after taking drugs not prescribed to them.

It is believed a resident at Guild Lodge in Whittingham, near Preston, got into a medicine storage area and distributed tablets to the patients.

The drugs involved were codeine phosphate, Kwells, Clonazepam and Naproxen – drugs used for pain relief, anti-sickness, anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory treatment.

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the unit, said Friday’s ‘serious incident’ would be subject to a ‘full and thorough investigation’, but declined to confirm the exact circumstances.

They added they were ‘not aware’ of any staffing problems that might have contributed to the incident and confirmed Lancashire Police had been notified.

The two patients taken to hospital have been discharged and returned to the mental health hospital.

Sue Tighe, network director for specialist services at Lancashire Care, said: “Over the weekend it has transpired that a small group of service users have ingested medication not prescribed to them.

“Our main concern at the 
moment is ensuring that those thought to have taken the substances receive medical attention and preventing further misuse.

“As such, service user movements have been limited on site so that the situation can be contained and managed accordingly.

“Clearly, they should not have been able to access the medication in the first place and this will be subject to a full and thorough investigation after addressing the initial priority which is their health and wellbeing.

“The police have been notified and are supporting us to manage the situation.

“The families of those service users affected have been notified and we will make sure that they are kept informed and supported.

“I would like to offer my assurance that this situation is unusual and is being managed robustly, the investigation process will enable us to ascertain how this happened in order to prevent it from recurring.”

Earlier this year, the Evening Post reported that Guild Lodge, a medium secure and low secure forensic psychiatric hospital, had met standards following a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection.

Last year, it had been failing in a number of inspection areas but has since improved. The Trust had been ordered to make changes after it failed the standards for respecting and involving people who use their services; the care and welfare of people who use services; assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision and for keeping records.

Bosses had to submit and action plan and the follow up inspection found it had met the standards.

Jenny Wilkes, head of inspection at the CQC’s Hospitals Directorate (Mental Health) for the North West: “CQC has been made aware of some irregular medication issues at the Guild Lodge, Preston. Enquiries are at early stage and we remain in contact with the hospital, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and our partner agencies. Our priority will always be the safety and welfare of service users.”