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EADT: Campaigner seeks answers after his mentally ill brother died alone in filthy Ipswich flat

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Andrew Hirst of the East Anglian Daily Times reports:

More than a year after Steve Martin learned his mentally ill brother had died alone and amid filth and squalor, his quest for answers goes on.

“A really good bloke, who’d do anything for a mate.”

That’s how Steve Martin would like to remember his older brother David.

But instead, the over-riding memory he has is one of feeling horror that the 52-year-old had been left to die in such awful conditions.

Some 16 months on he still feels there are a stack of unanswered questions over the care his brother received and his subsequent death, and until that happens he feels unable to mourn his loss. He hopes an inquest, to take place on an unconfirmed date, will reveal the full facts.

When visiting David’s flat after his death, Steve said it had not been cleaned for six weeks; it was damp, there was no hot water and his bedroom window had been broken.

He said a care worker had visited just days before David’s death and had taken photographs of the mess, but had not taken any further action.

“How can you visit someone who is disabled, both physically and mentally, and leave them in an environment like that?” he asked. “I don’t get it – I just don’t get it at all.”

He has been working with the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk, which he says has opened his eyes to the effect of financial cuts across the services.

“I’ve become convinced there must be more people like David out there,” he said. “In my opinion, the administration at the NSFT have got rid of the infrastructure by sacking skilled members of staff and left themselves without the resources to deliver the care that it’s their responsibility to deliver.”

Steve, 50, who now lives in Grantham, Lincolnshire, has submitted an official complaint to the Trust, but claims its response ignored key issues to do with the condition of David’s flat and the competency of his care co-ordinator. “They need to be held to account,” he added.

One of the unexpected highlights of the March for Mental Health was meeting long-time campaign supporter, Steve Martin, who travelled all the way from Lincolnshire to support us. It was a privilege to meet him at last.

You can see the squalor in which his brother, David, died here. We helped Steve campaign successfully for an inquest into David’s death, yet to be heard.

We were supposed to meet Steve in January 2015 at a meeting with the Chair of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), Gary Page, and the Chief Executive, Michael Scott, to discuss unexpected deaths of patients at NSFT. Michael Scott cancelled the meeting with the bereaved.

Jane Sayer, Director of Nursing, told both of NSFT’s regulators, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Monitor, months ago that she would be meeting us to ‘explain’ the near tripling in unexplained deaths at NSFT; she even told Monitor the date and time of the supposed meeting and the CQC wrote to us assuming the meeting had taken place. Jane Sayer never got in touch with us.

Meanwhile people suffer neglect and die in ever larger numbers.

No more Daves!

Click on the image to read the article in full on the EADT website:

EADT Campaigner seeks answers after his mentally ill brother died alone in filthy Ipswich flat

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4 thoughts on “EADT: Campaigner seeks answers after his mentally ill brother died alone in filthy Ipswich flat

  1. m says:

    was the flat fit for human habitation…..looks like the answer was no.  Duty of Care. ???

    Reply
  2. Steve Martin says:

    Seems the trust are satisfied with their work.  What do regular folk think?

    Reply
  3. Terry skyrme says:

    It’s the complacency of the Trust management that gets me. What are the lessons to be learned? To say that the number of unexplained deaths are in line with the national average is a shocking thing to say. Perhaps the “national average” is also a disgrace.

    Reply
    • Profile photo of admin
      admin says:

      The best practice and national guidance is not to benchmark against others but to benchmark against your own trust’s performance. This is because there is wide variation in the reporting of incidents and in local circumstances. NSFT is well aware of this but continues to spin the national average yarn which, given the very dramatic rise in the number of unexpected deaths, is probably no longer true in any case, if it ever was. What we do know is that: unexpected deaths have virtually tripled; inpatient deaths are well above the national average; there have been many tragic individual cases in which people have been let down very badly, resulting in deaths or life-changing injuries; NSFT has had to pay damages via the NHS Litigation Authority; that the analyses of the increase in deaths have been superficial and self-serving. We are currently investigating the increase in unexpected deaths. Imagine the outcry if the number of unexpected deaths had tripled at the N&N…

      Reply

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