Beckenham: Bethlem boss should resign over escapes, says councillor

09:52 21 March 2012

Cllr Nicholas Bennett

Cllr Nicholas Bennett

Archant

The chairman of South London and Maudsley Trust should resign after the escape of four violent teenagers from a mental health unit, a councillor has claimed.

West Wickham Cllr Nicholas Bennett said it was time for Madeline Long to stand down and accused her of failing to engage with Bromley Council in her six-year term at the trust, which manages Bethlem Royal Hospital in Beckenham, from where the four boys aged 16 to 18 absconded on February 26.

The 10-bed Bill Yule unit in Monks Orchard Road has been suspended while an investigation takes place. It is uncertain whether it will ever reopen.

The council held a meeting with Ms Long and chief executive Stuart Bell last Tuesday.

Cllr Bennett told the Bromley Times: “We call Madeline Long the invisible woman. She has never engaged with the council or the leader, Stephen Carr. I asked her and Stuart Bell whether it was time to reconsider their positions, but they said no.

“I certainly think it’s time for Madeline Long to resign. What is she being paid for?”

Beckenham MP Bob Stewart raised the issue in parliament last week and discovered that there had been eight escapes and eight incidents of patients absconding while on escorted leave since the unit opened in 2004.

He said: “I don’t expect the Bill Yule unit to be reopened unless, or until, it is as secure as the River House adult facility, which has never had an escape since it opened in 2008.”

Mr Bennett said he was especially concerned as nobody was able to tell him whether the window had been smashed, jemmied or removed, more than two weeks after the incident.

A trust spokesman refused to comment on the resignation calls but said: “We take this incident very seriously and we apologise for the concern it has caused the local community.

“We have suspended the service whilst an external investigation is undertaken. This will look at how the incident happened and all aspects of how the unit operates, including security arrangements.”

Latest Crime news

Friday, May 27, 2016
A man in his sixties stabbed in the face 'with a pair of scissors' this morning (Picture: Getty)

Scotland Yard say they have arrested someone after a man was viciously stabbed in the face with a pair of scissors in west London.

Friday, May 27, 2016
Michael Purcell has been jailed for life

A Cricklewood steelworker who murdered his lesbian flatmate showed his hatred of her sexuality by mutilating her genitals it has been revealed today.

Friday, May 27, 2016
Police said men fired shots at a car in Armitage Road in Greenwich (Picture: Street View)

A young man was rushed to hospital last night after he was shot at ‘while in his car’ on a Greenwich street, Scotland Yard said.

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Armed police will patrol Brent

Armed police will be patrolling the streets of Brent following an increase in shootings in the borough.

Thursday, May 26, 2016
The mystery girl was found wandering in  the evening in Daleham Gardens

Police are trying to trace an 11-year-old girl who was discovered wandering in the street in her pyjamas saying she had run away from home.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Operation Viper will see more armed police on London's streets  (Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Armed police patrols will target gun crime hotspots across the capital after a rise in the number of shootings, as Scotland Yard says there are more guns on the streets.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Read more
Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport