Health bosses have today denied that Green Lane Hospital, Devizes, was understaffed on the day patient Benjamin Smart died.

Mr Smart, 27, from Chippenham, died on September 8 just hours after he was admitted to the hospital for observation.

An inquest which opened in Salisbury on September 24 found that Mr Smart died of single incision to his neck. It was adjourned to a later date when a full hearing will record a verdict.

After Mr Smart's death an employee at the hospital contacted the Gazette to raise a number of concerns including that Mr Smart was not checked for 14 minutes just before his death, that proper bandages were not available and staff had not been offered counselling.

Earlier this week when told of these concerns the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership would only say: "We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family of Benjamin Smart.

"As we are assisting with the ongoing coroner’s inquiry it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage."

But today (Wed) after consulting with staff Dr Toby Sutcliffe, clinical director for Wiltshire, said: "We refute the comments made by this anonymous person – our evidence shows that the comments made in your article are inaccurate.

"For example, the ward was fully staffed on the night of the incident and our records show that observations were carried out every 10 minutes. There was no ‘mix up over the strength of drugs administered’ – the medication to be administered needed to be appropriately verified. The ward carries an appropriate supply of wound materials and first aid equipment as is standard for all wards.

"All of our staff have access to counselling through our occupational health provider – they can either self-refer or be referred by their manager. A staff debrief has taken place as per our practice following unexpected incidents on wards.

"We will be sharing our evidence as part of the inquest process, with which we are fully engaged. We have taken this unusual step of commenting to refute these inaccurate points as we feel they could be misleading and cause undue concern ahead of the inquest."