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NHS trust declined care for vulnerable Black patient days before he died in police custody

An NHS trust declined to provide care for a vulnerable Black man days before he died in police custody while having a psychotic episode, The Independent has learnt.

Godrick Osei, 35, died after being restrained by up to seven Devon and Cornwall Police officers in the early hours of 3 July 2022, after fleeing his flat and hiding in the cupboard of a care home in Truro.

His family said he had been expressing “paranoid thoughts” and had called the police himself for help. He was arrested and died within an hour.

Mr Osei had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, had suspected post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and was prescribed various medications to treat these conditions. He also intermittently used illicit drugs and had suffered alleged sexual assault in prison around 2013, according to a medical report from North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT).

In the days before his death, Mr Osei was in the care of NELFT’s community mental health team, whose caseworkers were concerned that he was exhibiting signs of a further severe illness – emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD) – and was a high risk to himself.

However, Mr Osei was based outside the team’s catchment area, and NELFT asked the neighbouring Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPT) to assess him instead.

CPT refused without explaining why, according to a medical report seen by The Independent.

Following Mr Osei’s death, an investigating officer from NELFT made multiple attempts to contact CPT to explore the possibility of a joint investigation into the matter, but didn’t receive a response.

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Source: The Independent, 16 January 2023


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