Daughter Who Found Father Hanging After Mental Health Treatment Wants Lessons To Be Learned

Daughter Says “Improving Mental Healthcare Must Remain Priority” As NHS Trust Admits Failings In Care

18.12.2015

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The daughter of a North West man who died after hanging himself while being treated for mental health problems say they hope that lessons will be learned after the Coroner delivered a conclusion of suicide and said he would write to the NHS Trust about the outreach care they provide.

William Jones was 64 years old when he was found hanging at home Widnes in August last year. He had tried to take his own life more than 20 years earlier and had a history of mental illness including paranoid delusions and depression. Just two days before his death his daughter Linda Devaney saw her father at her mother’s house and was very concerned that he was discussing the recent suicide of Robin Williams and had been paranoid about how she had known he was there.

She phoned the Brooker Centre which provides home treatments and they arranged for someone to visit him 10 days later but it was sadly too late and he died on 15th August.

A Serious Untoward Incident report by the NHS was critical of the care provided and described the on-call system for psychiatric patients as not fit for purpose. An inquest into the death held on 18 November also heard evidence critical of the care Mr Jones received.

The coroner yesterday (17 December 2015) delivered a conclusion of suicide and said he would be writing to the Trust to ask them to clarify what measures they have in place to implement as assertive outreach approach. He will then use that information to decide whether to take it further with the Clinical Commissioning Group.

Mr Jones' daughter, who was the first to find her father after his tragic death, instructed specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the care provided to him by 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as they were concerned regarding how he was assessed by carers and the treatment he received in the year before his death.

In a letter from its solicitors, the NHS Trust accepted there were failings in the care provided to Mr Jones in August 2014 and the months leading up to this. The letter went on to say: “It is accepted that, had more appropriate care been provided, then his compliance with medication could have more easily been monitored, with a clear contingency plan for intervention at time when the deceased was becoming unwell.”

Expert Opinion
“Our client has been left devastated at losing her father in this manner. It was incredibly difficult for her to come to terms with the fact that his care was not to an acceptable standard.

“The SUI report has made recommendations and the Coroner has said he will write to the Trust for clarity on the issue of assertive outreach and our client now hopes that lessons will be learned to reduce the risk of similar situations now the NHS Trust has admitted there were failings in his care.

“There has been plenty of discussion in the media in recent years about mental illness and it is important that it remains high on the political agenda so that improvements in healthcare for vulnerable people can continue to be made.”
Ayse Ince, Associate

Linda Devaney, 46, from Widnes, said: “I’m still trying to come to terms losing my father a year on from his death. I had been concerned about his state of mind for a while and had told the medical experts that we were worried about him. It’s difficult to put it into words but it was simply horrific when I found him.

“The fact that there were failings in his care makes it even more difficult to understand.

“I hope that by speaking out it will raise awareness of mental health issues and prompt other people who may either be struggling themselves or concerned about others to seek help.

“We’ve learnt the hard way that improving healthcare for people with mental illness must remain a priority.”

Registered charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) seeks to prevent male suicide in the UK which accounts for 76% of all suicides each year and is the single biggest cause of death in men under 45 in the UK.

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in Mental Health Negligence Claims.