TWO patients took their own lives and a third, carelessly labelled “low risk” by staff, tried to hang herself in her ward with a household item that should have been banned, in the spate of incidents across three days at the 169-year-old Cumberland Hospital.

Root Cause Analysis reports by NSW Health, obtained by The Daily Telegraph, reveal how a dire lack of beds and staff are resulting in people being discharged far too early from the hospital, which is the state’s biggest public mental health facility with 260 beds.

At times, patients are being discharged without “comprehensive” plans or any “engagement with the family”.

One report shows how on December 6 a 57-year-old woman admitted to Cumberland was left unsupervised and found by nurses “slumped on the floor unresponsive” after trying to end her life using a basic household item. The review found the item should never have been there and recommended its “removal … as a matter of urgency”.

The woman lived, but the internal investigation was so damning it raised concerns that staff may have doctored time sheets.

The cases shed new light on the perilous state of the ageing 260-bed facility, which was first opened in 1849 and is now part of the major Westmead health precinct.