Men­tal health care fears raised af­ter sui­cide cases

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News - By Ed McCon­nell

A schizophrenic man who died af­ter step­ping in front of a lorry in Ash­ford is just one of the tragic cases iden­ti­fied as a fail­ure of Kent’s men­tal health ser­vices.

Karl Wil­liams, 49, from Dover, had dis­charged him­self from Wil­liam Har­vey Hos­pi­tal, Ash­ford, af­ter cut­ting his wrists in Septem­ber.

He had been wait­ing for two hours and there was no on-duty psy­chi­atric spe­cial­ist present.

Soon af­ter he was spot­ted by a pass­ing driver stand­ing at the bot­tom of the junc­tion 10 slip road, be­fore be­ing killed by a pass­ing lorry.

Coro­ner Rachel Redman ad­vised steps should be taken to en­sure round-the-clock psy­chi­atric care is avail­able at the hos­pi­tal’s A&E depart­ment.

Kent and Med­way NHS and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship Trust (KMPT), which pro­vides in­pa­tient and com­mu­nity ser­vices across the county, was told to make im­prove­ments fol­low­ing three pa­tients’ deaths.

The fail­ings have been re­vealed fol­low­ing a Free­dom of Information Act re­quest by the Ken­tish Ex­press’ sis­ter pa­per, the Kent Mes­sen­ger. Warnings came from coro­ners, who used so-called Reg­u­la­tion 28 pow­ers that al­low them to make rec­om­men­da­tions to bod­ies to change to pre­vent fur­ther fa­tal­i­ties.

The sui­cides of ar­chi­tect Joanna Bowring, 32, and a 54-year-old woman from Can­ter­bury also high­lighted fail­ings.

Miss Bowring was hit by a high­speed train at Box­ley in June af­ter be­ing de­nied in-pa­tient care at Med­way Mar­itime Hos­pi­tal.

A coro­ner voiced con­cerns her par­ents, who were car­ing for her, were not ad­e­quately in­volved in her treat­ment or in­formed of ‘red flags’ to look out for.

She also said a care plan should al­ways be given to a pa­tient upon leav­ing hos­pi­tal.

An­other woman hanged her­self last April af­ter be­ing taken to St Martin’s Hos­pi­tal, Can­ter­bury, un­der the men­tal health act fol­low­ing an at­tempted sui­cide.

She was dis­charged with a care plan and was con­tacted by the trust’s cri­sis team the fol­low­ing day which re­ported she was sui­ci­dal.

Sev­eral ef­forts were made to con­tact her but her fam­ily weren’t in­formed. She was found dead at home by po­lice 24 hours later. An inquest found the pro­to­col for when to re­quest a wel­fare check was not clear and even af­ter steps were taken by KMPT to ed­u­cate staff, a shift co-or­di­na­tor re­mained un­clear on trust pol­icy.

If you would like con­fi­den­tial sup­port on an emo­tional is­sue, call Sa­mar­i­tans on 116 123 at any time

The coro­ner has high­lighted fail­ings in Kent’s men­tal health ser­vices

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