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Patient damages car of nurse working for NHS trust, advice

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  • Patient damages car of nurse working for NHS trust, advice

    Please can you provide some guidance on a query.

    Three nurses work in a small psychiatric service within an NHS trust. A patient detained within this service for reasons unknown chooses to go out and vandalise the cars of the three nurses on shift on a particular day. The nurses have worked at the service for a number of years and such an event has not happened before. The nurses discover the vandalism and make the assumption that the person(s) responsible for this are a particular patient, Patient A. Patient A has been out of the hospital service and into the grounds where the car park is located on leave for a 45 minute period. Nurse A knows that his car was fine at Time A and is vandalised at Time B (1-2 hours apart). The only patient that was out a this time was patient A. He is asked if he knows anything about damage to cars in the hospital car park. The patient replies that he 'saw someone tampering with motor vehicles'. The CCTV is checked and it shows nothing but the Patient A leaving the service and then returning. The cars are parked next to a hedge where they could be accessed by leaving the site (i.e off camera) and then crawling back under the hedge and therefore the far side of the vehicle is not visible and would not be caught on CCTV. A number of days later another patient, Patient B, tells Nurse B that '[Patient A] damaged your car, he damaged yours, [Nurse A] and [Nurse C], he damaged it by [Action]'. This statement is witnessed by two independent staff members who were not involved in any way in the original incident or shift. Nurse B writes a statement of what he has just been told by Patient B and he asks if the two staff (Staff D and Staff E) on shift will be willing to sign to confirm that they heard this conversation and that it was a true recollection of what they heard. They agree to do so and provide their contact details for any future enquiry. The information is passed to the police and a log number is obtained. This conversation is recored on CCTV (no audio) where the three staff members and patient can be seen stood and interacting together.

    Is there sufficient evidence here of anything or is it all just hearsay or speculation. It is known that patient A did the damage as he has made a subtle reference to it but has not admitted it in any way. It is also known that Patient A can recall the registration numbers of a number of staff members from memory, he recites these at times to staff i.e. ('i know your car registration it is xxxxxxx and you drive a xxxxxx'). Additionally is the NHS trust liable in any way given that the staff members, in the course of carrying out their normal duties have suffered deliberate and targeted damage to their vehicles through no fault of their own (or if not liable should they pay for the damage). There is no apparent reason for the damage to have been carried out apart from Patient A being annoyed at the three nurses for an appropriate, routine and necessary clinical decision. Patient A was abusive to the staff members for some hours prior to the damage being discovered as a result of this clinical decision.

    Please help
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