DHB faults in pos­si­ble sui­cides

Weekend Herald - - Lizzie Marvelly - Emma Rus­sell

At least 208 sus­pected sui­cides re­ported by DHBs in the last year oc­curred while or soon after the per­son was un­der pub­lic health care.

The lat­est Health Qual­ity and Safety Com­mis­sion ad­verse events an­nual re­port showed 208 of the deaths men­tioned were sus­pected sui­cides — 12 of which oc­curred in in­pa­tient units.

The re­main­ing 104 deaths were from other parts of the health sec­tor.

The find­ings came a day after it was re­vealed 21-year-old Nicky Stevens’ death could have been avoided had his par­ents’ ad­vice not to al­low him un­escorted leave been ad­hered to.

Stevens took his own life on March 9, 2015, after he was let out of the Henry Ron­go­mau Ben­nett Cen­tre at Waikato Hos­pi­tal un­escorted.

Com­mis­sion chair­man Pro­fes­sor Alan Merry said it was “in­cred­i­bly con­cern­ing” when peo­ple in the sys­tem were failed and they com­mit­ted sui­cide.

“That’s not to say its not com­plex . . . peo­ple can com­mit sui­cide no mat­ter what. But there was a lot to learn from this,” Merry said.

For the first time since 2013, the men­tal health and ad­dic­tions (MHA) sec­tor of the DHB was in­cluded in the re­port.

In to­tal, 982 ad­verse events — un­ex­pected or un­planned events that re­sulted in harm or death — were re­ported in the last year by pri­vate and pub­lic health ser­vices.

Of the 631 events that were re­ported by health boards, 317 of them were due to clin­i­cal man­age­ment and 255 were falls that re­sulted in se­ri­ous harm. Other high­lighted re­port­ing cat­e­gories in­cluded health­car­e­as­so­ci­ated in­fec­tions and med­i­ca­tion.

The year be­fore, there were 542 ad­verse events re­ported by DHBs.

Merry said ad­verse events could have a dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect on the per­son in­volved and their wha¯nau and friends.

He said the com­mis­sion would use the in­for­ma­tion in its MHA qual­ity im­prove­ment pro­gramme.

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