A VULNERABLE patient lost their life shortly after falling in a Lanarkshire hospital. 

Medics at Airdrie’s University Hospital Monklands failed to properly assess the fall risk of the individual, known only as A, before allowing them to use a commode unaccompanied and without a hip brace in the early hours of the morning.

The patient sustained injuries in the incident and remained in the hospital until they died a little over a week later. 

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Health chiefs have now been ordered by a watchdog to apologise and told to implement a string of improvements to put things right. 

These include training all relevant staff in the safe positioning of commodes, the assessment of mobility and risk, and that handovers are properly recorded. 

Dr John Keaney, NHS Lanarkshire acute divisional medical director, said: “We regret any instance where we fail to provide the highest standards of care for our patients and we will contact the complainant directly to offer our sincere apologies for the failings identified in the reports.

“We have fully accepted the recommendations within the Ombudsman’s reports and will develop an action plan to address them. The lessons learned will be shared to help avoid similar occurrences in future.”

The Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) did, however, reject several aspects of a complaint brought to them by a relative of A, known only as C.

Medics were found to have provided reasonable care following the injury and a concerns over the attitude of a specific doctor were also dismissed.

A ruling from the SPSO read: “During their admission, there was an incident involving A in the early hours of the morning. 


“The board said that A was mobilised to a commode and, at A’s request, given privacy to use it. 

“The board said that A fell during this time and sustained injuries. C was sceptical of the account given by the board of how A sustained their injuries. A remained in hospital until their death a little over a week later.

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“We found that the board had not reasonably assessed A’s falls risk, had not reasonably undertaken staff handovers in respect of A, unreasonably mobilised A to the commode without their hip brace and unreasonably allowed A to use the commode alone and unsupervised. 

“We upheld C’s complaint about the care provided to A in respect of their falls risk.”