The Northern Trust has been told its investigation into the death of an elderly patient at Antrim Area Hospital following a “serious adverse incident” must be independent and thorough.
The man, who was in his 80s, died on Saturday following the incident.
The News Letter understands that the patient suffered from dementia and had been allowed to walk into a part of the hospital where he sustained serious injuries, although the trust has yet to confirm precise details of what happened.
He was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for treatment but sadly passed away.
In a statement, the Northern Trust offered condolences to the man’s family and confirmed it was investigating. Both the police and the Health and Safety Executive have also launched investigations.
DUP Alderman John Smyth, mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey council, said: “The review must be urgent and it must get to the bottom of what went wrong to allow this man to lose his life in a place where he was being cared for. My thoughts are with the man’s family and all who knew him at this time.”
UUP MLA Steve Aiken said: “This is a terrible tragedy and I offer my sincere condolences to the gentleman’s family. The entire circumstances are still unknown at this stage and I welcome the news that there will be an independently led investigation into this very serious incident. This needs to be done as a matter of urgency.”
Party colleague, councillor Jim Montgomery, added: “A hospital should be a place of safety for anyone in it and it is incumbent upon the health trust to ensure their inquiry is comprehensive and any lessons to be learned are acted upon. If this was an area that the public should not have got into then there needs to be clarification on how access was gained.”
A spokesperson for the trust said: “The trust can confirm that an incident involving a male patient occurred at Antrim Area Hospital on the morning of Saturday July 6 2019. The patient was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast but sadly, he passed away.
“We offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased and can confirm that the incident has been notified to the Health and Safety Executive and the PSNI. As a result, an investigation is now under way and we are also in the process of instigating a Level 3 Serious Adverse Incident investigation, which will be independently led.
“We are not in a position to make any further comment at this stage.”
A PSNI spokesperson said: “Police are liaising with the Health and Safety Executive and Northern Trust to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident. A post-mortem examination will take place in due course to determine the cause of death.”