A shocking video has emerged showing nurses braiding each other’s hair, vaping, and scrolling on their phones while a young patient made efforts to take his own life just feet away.
The CCTV footage was released as part of an inquest into the death of Brendan McFarlane, who died four days after being admitted to The Harbour, a mental health facility in Blackpool.
20-year-old Bren was classified as Level 3 risk, meaning he required constant supervision.
However, an inquest has found that the nurses watched him for less than three minutes over the hour before he was found unresponsive.
Bren had waited three weeks for a bed on a mental health unit to become available after a psychiatrist deemed him a “risk to himself”. The doctor had urgently requested that Bren be moved to a “place of safety” following an assessment at his home in Accrington, due to his history of self-harm and suicide attempts.
On the second day of the five-day inquest into Bren’s death, jurors viewed CCTV footage from inside his room and the nurses’ station. It showed one nurse doing a colleague’s hair and another nurse using her mobile phone.
Bren’s mum Gail Rawlinson, who saw the footage for the first time during the inquest, broke down as she watched the nurses seemingly neglecting their duties.
At 9.35am, one minute after Bren was creating the item he used to take his life, as the CCTV footage showed, one nurse sat on a desk and scrolled through her phone.
At 9.38am another nurse spends several minutes doing her colleague’s hair.
At 10.16am, he was found unresponsive in his bathroom and was rushed to Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
However, treatment was stopped when doctors discovered he had suffered a brain stem death due to a lack of oxygen.
His family was informed that Bren had managed to keep an unlogged item among his personal belongings.
During a 20-minute period when no checks on Bren were made, he used this item in his en-suite bathroom to end his life, LancsLive reports.
Detective Inspector Steven Montgomery from Blackpool Police confirmed that Bren had not been searched upon arrival at The Harbour.
Barrister Laura Nash, representing Bren’s family during the inquest, asked DI Montgomery about the online activities of the nurse seen on her phone. He suggested “social media”, but this has not been confirmed.
The psychiatrist who assessed Bren several times in October and requested an urgent bed at a mental health unit revealed that Bren had been showing signs of psychosis, not eating or drinking, and acting paranoid and impulsive before he was admitted to The Harbour.
Bren, who had previously been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, also had a history of suicide attempts and staff at his accommodation had seen a meat cleaver in his room.
The inquest is set to continue until Friday, Nov. 10.