EADT: Death of Harriet Philo Powell highlighted ‘weaknesses’ in mental health care

Will Lodge of the East Anglian Daily Times reports:

The death of an aspiring art student from the Essex/Suffolk border highlighted “systemic failings” and “weaknesses” in the Suffolk mental health trust, her family told an inquest.

Hannah Noyce, who represented Miss Philo Powell’s parents at the inquest, told the court there were apparent “systemic failings”, though there was no suggestion of “individual failings or negligence”.

Caroline Beasley-Murray, Essex senior coroner, concluded Miss Philo Powell took her own life.

She said: “I didn’t have the privilege of knowing her but the impression I got is she was very intelligent, articulate, gifted all-rounder.

“I am sure she took a deliberate action knowing it would intend in her death.

“There were some weaknesses in the care provided by NSFT.

“The court is pleased the trust has set its mind to drafting an action plan, but there’s far more to it than drafting a plan.”

Mrs Beasley-Murray said she would write a Prevention of Future Deaths report, and requested an update within three months from NSFT about how its action plan had been implemented.

NSFT has come under fire in the past year for high death rates, its financial deficit, and its overall rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is inadequate – although the last inspection report into the trust was published in February 2015. The trust is in special measures as a result of the CQC findings.

Lisa O’Dwyer, medico-legal director at Action Against Medical Accidents who represented Miss Philo Powell’s parents, said: “Harriet’s death is yet another example of a young person whose life has been cut short as a result of mental illness.

“This case and others like it demonstrate how a lack of basic, core skills such as communication, information sharing and planning can contribute to tragic outcomes.”

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in people aged between 15 and 29 (National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness).

The risk of suicide increases up to 50-fold in the year after self-harm (National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness).

One in fifty of people seen in A&E after self-harm are dead within a year (National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness).

How are the recently announced £200,000 of cuts to Psychiatric Liaison Services (PLS) in Suffolk’s hospitals going to reverse the number of ‘unexpected deaths’ which have already doubled in Norfolk and Suffolk since 2012-13 after the cuts and chaos of the failed ‘radical redesign’?

Please don’t forget that you can call the Samaritans, whatever you’re going through, any time, from any phone on 116 123. This number is FREE to call. You don’t have to be suicidal.

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

EADT Death of Harriet Philo Powell highlighted weaknesses in mental health care

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