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Coroner criticises NHS trust’s treatment of family of woman who killed herself

An NHS trust has “not covered itself in glory” in its dealings with the family of a vulnerable young woman who killed herself after being refused admission to hospital, a coroner has found.

The three-day hearing looked at evidence withheld from the original inquest into the death of Sally Mays, who killed herself in 2014 after being turned away from a mental health unit.

Mays was failed by staff “neglect” at Miranda House in Hull, a 2015 inquest ruled, after a 14-minute assessment led to her being refused a place, despite being a suicide risk.

Her parents, Angela and Andy Mays, won a high court battle in December to hear details of an informal chat outside the building between Laura Elliot, a community mental health nurse who was supporting Mays, and the consultant psychiatrist Dr Kwame Fofie, which only later came to light.

This was ruled to be “neither a clinical conversation nor an attempt to escalate her care” by senior coroner Prof Paul Marks on Wednesday.

He said: “It was a conversation between colleagues in which the frustrations of the working day were vented.”

But, he said: “The trust has not covered itself in glory with regard to its dealings with the family and the disclosing of documents.”

The Mays have spent the last seven years fighting to hear details of the car park conversation, which could have changed their understanding of what happened before their daughter died.

Angela Mays added: “I never considered myself to be a campaigner. I have only considered myself to be a mother who actually wants the truth about the facts relating to her daughter’s death.”

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Source: The Guardian, 28 September 2022


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