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reporting guidelines

Reporting guidelines

We want to ensure that incidents are reported fairly and accurately.  We consider it one of our responsibilities to make sure the reporting of certain incidents is done transparently and consistently. Media reporting guidlines can be found here.

Reporting suicides

  • We are committed to providing safe, supportive care and minimising risk amongst people using mental health services. For a very small number of people admitted to hospital, high risk behaviour and determination to self-harm or take their own lives challenges the measures we take to protect patients from harm. Very sadly, a number of inpatient suicides occur nationally each year. 
  • The death of anyone using our services is a tragedy, and we do everything we can to avoid such events from occurring. It is important to clarify that this is not just a local concern. The numeber of suicides is frequently discussed by those running mental health services across the country so please use sensitivity when reporting.
  • When reporting on a suicide please refer to the Samartians best practice guide which are aimed at those reporting suicide in any media, from factual description to dramatic portrayal.

Reporting absconds

  • Absconding or ‘absent without leave’ (AWOL) refers to departure of a patient from a ward/ department without prior arrangement.
  • A voluntary patient can leave hospital anytime he or she wishes, however it would be desirable he/she discusses this with staff in the first instance.
  • Issues emerge if if the patient lacks mental capacity or there are concerns that the patient represented a significant risk of harm to him/herself or others.
  • All absconding incidents are reported in accordance with the Trust procedure for reporting accidents/incidents.
  • If you are reporting a story where a person has 'absconded' it would be inaccurate to state a person has 'escaped' or use similar terms. Such language can have a deterimental effect on patients and cause unneccesary stress to members of the public.
  • When reporting an absconding incident please ensure you check with the communications team to ensure you have the most up-to-date information. We are always happy to help where we can.