Meeting Over Bethlem Hospital Escapes

Bob Stewart MP has expressed his dismay to mental health bosses over the recent escapes from the Bill Yule secure unit at Bethlem Hospital.

Mr Stewart requested an urgent meeting with Chief Executive Stuart Bell and Chair Madeline Long from South London and Maudsley NHS Trust to discuss the circumstances around the latest escapes and what steps will be taken to improve security arrangements at the unit.

Mr Stewart called on members of the Trust to improve communication and be more visible to Bromley Councillors and the wider public.

Four dangerous teenagers escaped from the 10-bed Bill Yule Secure Adolescent Unit at Bethem Hospital on February 26th. They have since been returned.

Information released by Bethlem, following Parliamentary questions by Mr Stewart, reveal there have been 8 escapes from the Bill Yule unit and 8 incidents of patients absconding while on escorted leave since it opened in 2004.

Bob Stewart MP said: “The medium secure Bill Yule unit from which four young males absconded is now closed. I don’t expect it to be reopened unless, or until, it is as secure as the River House adult facility which has never had an escape since it opened in 2008. In addition I will be campaigning to ensure that any young person (under 18) who is released under escort for a visit is also fitted with an electronic tag on their ankle, as happens with adult patients. I will be writing a letter to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to outline my concerns and will be following events at Bethlem very closely indeed.”