Mental health care fears raised after suicide cases
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