The shocking image was taken at an NHS-run mental health centre
A suicidal Chelmsford woman took a photo of the man who was supposed to be watching her – asleep during his shift.
The shocking photo was revealed as part of an investigation into the exhausted workers being left to care for some of the most vulnerable people in society.
Taken at the Linden Centre, an NHS-run mental health unit based at Chelmsford’s Broomfield Hospital, the photo shows an assistant, reportedly hired through Medilink Consulting, sleeping on his shift.
The suicidal 26-year-old woman told the Mirror Online: “He dozed off in front of me. It’s frightening when the person whose job it is to prevent you killing yourself falls asleep.
“I have tried to hang myself and cut myself over the 10 years I’ve been in and out of mental health units. Luckily for me I wasn’t having a low mood.”
She says a manager took her phone away after learning she’d taken the photo, but a matron returned it to her.
The Sunday Mirror investigation looks at the low-paid workers given the life-or-death job at NHS and private clinics raking in millions a year in NHS contracts.
Three pictures, one of which was taken at the Linden Centre, are now being investigated by a health watchdog.
Former care minister Norman Lamb said the images were “deeply shocking”. “Families have a right to expect loved ones will be safe in hospital,” he said.
“These…facilities will charge the taxpayer thousands a week to keep a vulnerable person safe. But many depend on agency workers who may not have been well enough trained or supervised.”
The Care Quality Commission said it would be launching an investigation after viewing the photos.
Dr Paul Lelliott, CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals, said: “Mental health inpatient services should ensure all regular and agency staff are qualified, competent and skilled to work with people with mental health conditions.”