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EDP: Mother thought to have died from morphine overdose waited 12 days for mental health help

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George Ryan of the EDP reports:

A woman who may have died from a morphine overdose had to wait 12 days for a mental health assessment after concerns were raised, an inquest heard.

Sister Caroline Butler, who works on the ward, contacted the mental health referral team on December 18, 2014, as she was concerned Mrs Lee may have bipolar disorder, and expected an assessment to be made within 72 hours.

It was not until 12 days later, on the day of her discharge on December 30, that she was seen by someone.

Nicholas Michael, representing the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, of which the mental health referral service is a part, said that the incorrect form was used and also sent to the wrong location.

A nurse from the orthopaedic ward contacted the service on December 23 to find out when the referral would be taking place and then it became clear the form had gone to the wrong place.

Susan Stolworthy, who works for the mental health referral service, said: “As we had the liaison nurse in post at the Paget it makes sense for them to go in and see the patient.”

Alex Jamieson, a barrister representing the family, said: “This case has fallen between the gaps because no contact was made. If not remedied it could easily happen again.”

People in crisis are frequently having to wait far too long for assessment: in some cases they die or suffer life-changing injuries before they are seen. There simply aren’t enough staff to offer a decent service. It is shameful.

How many more inquests?

Read the story in full on the EDP website by clicking on the image below:

EDP Mother thought to have died from morphine overdose waited 12 days for mental health help

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