Williams v Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board [2022] EWHC 455 (QB) (04 March 2022)

The claim relates to the tragedy of Mr Williams’ suicide in February 2014. Mr Williams (Antony) was 41 years old and had been a long time patient of the D’s mental health team. The essence of C’s claim can be summarised as follows. At about 9.30am on the morning of the 9 February 2014 Mrs Williams had telephoned D’s Psychiatric Hospital. She reported a relapse in her husband’s condition. She was put through by the Hospital’s general switchboard to a senior nurse within the unit. The 9 February 2014 was a Sunday and out of hours provision only was available. D did not take any steps for immediate action or assessment. She did advise that if Mrs Williams was concerned her husband could come to the A and E Department at the same Hospital for psychiatric assessment and/or admission or that alternatively she could contact the out of hours GP. In addition she reminded Mrs Williams that if there was an imminent danger to the safety of Mr Williams or others she should phone the emergency services. Approximately 7 hours later Mr Williams took his own life. C says that D dealt with that telephone call in breach of her duty of care to Mr Williams and/or that D’s out of hours provision fell below the reasonable standard. Later that day C found her husband where he had hanged himself close to the family home. She claims that as such she qualifies as a secondary psychiatric victim of the alleged negligence. [2]

C’s claims fail and are dismissed [79]