Coroner demands admissions review

A coroner has called on a mental health trust to rewrite its
admissions policy following the suicide of a man who was being
assessed for possible sectioning.

Geoffrey Peake threw himself into the River Thames and drowned
after walking out of St Thomas’ Hospital, London, during the
assessment, an inquest was told.

The Westminster coroner, Dr Paul Knapman, said it should have been
obvious to hospital staff that police wanted Peake detained under
the Mental Health Act 1983.

He had been taken to the hospital in handcuffs after trying to
slash his own throat upon discovering that he was HIV positive, the
court heard.

PC Steven Bogidi said that he had stressed to hospital staff that
Peake was a “risk to himself and others”, and expected him to be

But Dr Gavin McKay who assessed Peake said the police had told a
colleague that he was not a Section 136 case.

Dr Knapman criticised the South London and Maudsley Mental Health
Trust, and urged that its admissions policy be rewritten to include
the recommended choices and actions open to doctors.

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