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Senior doctors warned of service failings before 12 deaths

Senior doctors repeatedly raised concerns over safety and staffing problems at a mental health trust before a cluster of 12 deaths, an HSJ investigation has found.

The deaths all happened over the course of a year, starting in June 2018, involving patients under the care of the crisis home treatment services at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust. The causes of the deaths included suicides, drug overdoses, and hanging.

Coroners found several common failings surrounding the deaths and have previously warned of a lack of resources for mental health services in the city.

HSJ has now seen internal documents which reveal senior clinicians had raised repeated internal concerns about the trust’s crisis home treatment teams during 2017 and early 2018. The clinicians warned of inadequate staffing levels, long waiting lists, and a lack of inpatient bed capacity.

In the minutes of one meeting in February 2018, just two months before the first of the 12 deaths, a consultant is recorded as saying he had “grave concerns over safety in [the home treatment teams]”.

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Source: HSJ, 9 June 2020


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