Investigation launched after patient goes missing

A psychiatric hospital has launched an investigation after a teenage patient went missing. One local councillor said many people would now be worried how the patient managed to breach security at the hospital. Cllr Michael Downing said: I think the publi

A psychiatric hospital has launched an investigation after a teenage patient went missing.

One local councillor said many people would now be worried how the patient managed to breach security at the hospital.

Cllr Michael Downing said: "I think the public will be alarmed. This is not the first time it has happened there.

"There are clearly issues the management at the hospital have to address very promptly.


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"This is supposed to be a secure unit and people expect to be secure."

The young man was missing for four hours from the Cygnet Hospital in Graveley Road, Stevenage, sparking a police hunt throughout the town.

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He was eventually found by a police officer in Walkern village and returned to the hospital.

The private hospital provides low and medium secure care as well as secure adolescent services for the NHS. All patients must be detained under the Mental Health Act.

After combing nearby roads leading to the A1(M), officers searched the Old Town, the leisure park, the Martins Wood area, Fairlands Valley lakes and the railway station.

Police officers remained at the station monitoring passengers travelling on trains to London and also asked British Transport Police for assistance.

"Police were called at just after 1pm on Tuesday to assist in the search for a vulnerable patient who had gone missing from the Cygnet Hospital," said a Hertfordshire police spokesman.

"Throughout the search public safety was of paramount importance. The patient was eventually found in Walkern and returned to the hospital on Tuesday evening without incident.

"The patient offered no overt risk to the public."

David Beattie, general manager of the Cygnet Hospital, said: "The police were informed immediately we discovered the patient was missing.

"The patient is back with us. I cannot provide any further details because of patient confidentiality."

Mr Beattie refused to reveal how the patient managed to leave the hospital or whether it happened following an incident with staff.

Old Town councillor Pam Gallagher said: "I am sure some people will be worried by this sort of thing but this kind of hospital has got to be somewhere..

"It is right on the edge of the town. When I visited the hospital the security arrangements seemed very good."

The hospital also admits sentenced or un-sentenced prisoners and considers referrals from courts, probation or detention centres and immigration departments and lawyers.

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