Mental health patient attacked sisters oustide Trent Vale home
THE parents of two sisters attacked by a woman with mental health problems have criticised NHS managers for their response to the incident.
Danielle Woolliscroft, aged 21, and her 17-year-old sister Hannah had arrived home from the cinema when the woman jumped out at them in their front garden.
She grappled with them and tried to get inside their house, leaving the pair with bruises and scratches.
It is thought the woman was a psychiatric patient at Harplands Hospital, close to the family's home in Springfields Road, Trent Vale.
Ruark HiFi - for lovers of good music and fantastic sound
Headphone offer is our own offer as test for these vouchers - so don't delay offer expires 25/05/13
Only with this voucher, choose a set of headphones up to 10% of the units price or add some to it if you want a dearer set
ie Unit for £300 would give you £30 towards headphones of your choice
Contact: 01782 342609
Valid until: Saturday, May 25 2013
Police were called but told the sisters' parents, Patricia and Adrian, no further action would be taken as the woman suffered mental health problems.
Mrs Woolliscroft and city councillor Jackie Barnes repeatedly contacted Harplands, but, four months after the August 8 attack, say they are yet to have a satisfactory reply.
Hannah, an A-level student at Newcastle College, said: "The woman was shaking, and saying, 'Let me in, he's trying to kill me'. She started scratching and pulling at me and my sister."
School worker Mrs Woolliscroft, aged 47, said: "The police told us we could press charges but it was highly unlikely it would go any further because of her being covered by the Mental Health Act.
"As a family, we felt traumatised by this incident and anticipated we would get an explanation from Harplands."
She added: "We have finally had a reply but it's not reassuring. It's just what they've said before – they can't say anything because of patient confidentiality. They said if we feel threatened by a member of the public we should contact the police, but that's what we did and they can't do anything.
"We just needed to feel our children could go out and return home to a safe haven, but Harplands Hospital has never once attempted to make us feel this way. It's disgusting how long it's taken them to reply."
Pottery worker Mr Woolliscroft, aged 53, said: "For weeks after our daughters were so scared. We thought something would have to be done, or Harplands would reassure us they were doing their utmost to prevent this. But we have had nothing."
Councillor Barnes said she was aware of other incidents involving patients from Harplands, adding: "There should be something in place to deal with incidents like these."
Police said the family had been kept updated about the action taken.
North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Harplands, said the number of serious incidents involving mentally unwell people was low but it would invite Mr and Mrs Wooliscroft to discuss the matter.
A trust spokesman said: "In the more severe cases, we do have in place policies, working in partnership with police to ensure people at risk of harming themselves or others are taken to a place of safety."