Andrew McLaughlin is successful in defending High Court clinical negligence claim against Betsi Cadwaladr Local Health Board

7th March 2022

Andrew McLaughlin has successfully defended a High Court clinical negligence claim against Betsi Cadwaladr Local Health Board brought by the widow of a man who committed suicide in the case of Williams v Betsi Cadwaladr Local Health Board [2022] EWHC 455 (QB).

The claimant alleged (1) that the Health Board had inadequate arrangements for out of hours care for psychiatric patients who require urgent mental health assessment due to a risk of suicide, (2) that it ought to have had electronic patient records per Bolitho, and (3) that a nurse who spoke to the widow on the day he committed suicide and expressed concern he needed to come into hospital had not acted with reasonable care per Montgomery. Both sides called expert evidence from psychiatrists and mental health nursing experts.

The trial was heard over 6-days in November 2021 and February 2022. Judgment was handed down on Friday 4th March 2022. HHJ Harrison sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge ruled the arrangements the Board had in terms of out of hours psychiatric care were reasonable, the fact it had paper rather than electronic systems was not a breach of duty, and the nurse in question had not been negligent. He also held had the claimant proved breach of duty the case would still have failed on causation.

A copy of the judgment which is reported on Bailli can be found here.