Thursday 5 December 2019 4:36 AM UTC
KENT Dec 5: Two mental health nurses have been fired for sleeping on the job after a suicidal patient who was looking for help found them slumped in their chairs, news reports from Kent said.
Reports said that Christopher Smith discovered the two women sleeping on the job just hours after he had to be talked down from a bridge during an episode.
Mourning the loss of his grandmother and a stillborn child, Mr Smith was taken to the crisis wing at Priority House in Maidstone, which cares for people at the highest risk of suicide.
Mr Smith, who has been diagnosed with personality disorder, said: ‘When you’re in that moment of crisis and you can’t remember why you’re there, you just need to speak to someone.
‘I’d been brought in the night before and woke up around 4am. I still really needed to talk to someone as I couldn’t stop thinking about hurting myself.
‘I tapped on a door but got no answer, so I tried again. Then I peeked around a window and saw them sleeping. I thought no way, I couldn’t believe it.
‘I felt even more frustrated that these two ladies were actually being paid to sleep, there’s people crying out for these jobs who could be helping others who are in a crisis.’
The nursing office where the pair were sleeping, on October 13, during their overnight shift, is reportedly not covered by CCTV cameras.
Staff at Priority House get a one-hour break and have a separate break room where they can relax.
Mr Smith made an official complaint to the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KPMT), which is responsible for Priority House.
It has since distanced itself from both workers, saying it will not work with them again.
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