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Staff falsified records night man died, inquest hears

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Staff at a mental health trust, run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, falsified records that they had checked on a vulnerable patient the night he died, an inquest has heard.

Eliot Harris was found dead in his room at Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, in April 2020. A police witness statement detailed how CCTV footage contradicted 19 log entries.

Mr Harris, 48, was admitted to hospital after the care home where he was a resident requested an urgent mental health assessment, an inquest into his death at Norfolk Coroner's Court heard.

He had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, had a history of epileptic seizures and had not been taking his medication.

Mr Harris was deemed to be high risk and was supposed to be on regular checks four times an hour.

In a witness statement read out in court, Det Sgt Nick Appleton described how police had cross referenced logs of his observations with CCTV recordings.

Det Sgt Appleton listed 19 instances in which the observation record was signed by a staff member that night, indicating Mr Harris had been checked, but was not backed up by the CCTV record.

He identified a number of "points of concern" in his evidence in which falsifying logs was "normal" and "standard practice" on wards.

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Source: BBC News, 1 August 2022

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