Calls to make improvements after three patients die
Failings were identified at mental health services in Kent in the wake of three deaths last year – including one being treated in Ashford.
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 the patients’ deaths.
The failings have been revealed following a Freedom of Information Act request by the Kent Messenger.
Warnings came from coroners, who used so-called Regulation 28 powers which 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 highlighted failings, as well as the death of a Dover man.
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.
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 more than 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-coordinator remained unclear on trust policy.
Schizophrenic Karl Williams, 49, from Dover, died in September after stepping in front of a lorry.
He had discharged himself from the William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, after cutting his wrists. He had been waiting for two hours and there was no on-duty psychiatric specialist present.
A coroner advised steps should be taken to ensure round-theclock psychiatric care is available at the hospital’s A&E department.
A KMPT spokesman said full investigations were carried out into the three Regulation 28 incidents and immediate action taken.
They added: “Patient and staff safety is our absolute priority. We take all incidents seriously, act upon and take learning where possible. We have responded to the Regulation 28 reports and have set out the steps we will be taking.”