A hospital in South London has been fined £140,000 after an investigation found it failed to ensure the safety of a 21-year-old woman who took her own life ten years ago. 

Francesca Whyatt, of Knutsford in Cheshire, was a patient on The Priory Hospital’s Emeral Ward in Roehampton from March 2013. 

She was found unconscious after harming herself in a patient lounge on September 25, 2013, and died three days later. 

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found that Francesca made her way to the lounge while the hospital responded to an incident involving other patients. 

The investigation concluded that Priory Healthcare Limited failed to ensure the provision of in-patient psychiatric treatment was carried out in such a way that patients were not exposed to risks to their health and safety. 

Daniel Whyatt, Francesca’s brother, paid tribute to his “truly selfless” and “special” sister. 

Daniel said: “The tragic and untimely death of our beloved sister has had a profound impact, and has repercussions well beyond those conceivable to anyone outside of our little family unit. It has invariably ruined all of our lives, and has muddied the precious memories we have of Francesca. 

“It is a strange thing to note that it is just as difficult to write her name as it is to speak it, all these years later it is still so raw. We should be able to talk about her fondly, with a smile… instead every mention of her is done so in anger and rage and it feels like being stabbed in the heart. 

“It is extremely overwhelming. Francesca had a proclivity for helping everyone she met and changed their lives in positive and meaningful ways, often at her own expense. She was a truly selfless, special and unique individual.” 

On Tuesday (November 14) Priory Healthcare Limited was fined £140,000 after it pleaded guilty breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act. 

Paul Hems, HSE’s head of operations for London, said: “This incredibly sad case highlights the need for suitable and sufficient systems to be put in place to monitor patients. 

“Employers should be aware that HSE will hold to account those who do not comply with health and safety legislation. It should also be noted that similar incidents which have taken place after April 2015 will be enforced by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).”