Coroners warn of mental health care failings

Posted By Kirsty Dakin - 13th September 2021

The Observer has recently reported that since 2015 Coroners have highlighted concerns about mental health services in dozens of inquests with staffing, long waiting lists and gaps in provision being a particular issue. The  paper identifies a total of 56  mental-health related deaths in England and Wales between  2015  and 2020 where  a lack of staffing or service provision were flagged as a concern such that reports to Prevent Future Deaths (PFD) were issued

Where a Coroner believes action should be taken to Prevent Future Deaths, a PFD report is issued to the relevant individuals or organisations, who are expected to respond. Cases set out in the reports include a women referred to psychotherapy services who had still not received any psychotherapy by the time she died 11 months later, a 7 month wait for a psychological assessment, a lack of bed availability preventing admission of a patient who later died and a severe shortage of inpatient psychiatric beds for children and adolescents.

It is of huge concern that patients are potentially missing the vital care and services needed.

Alison Cobb, senior policy and campaigns officer at the mental health charity ‘Mind’ commented that ‘it’s shocking that so many should lose their lives because there isn’t enough capacity in mental health services to provide adequate care.’

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson has commented that mental health services across the county are being expanded.

As the reports show the consequences of mental health care can be devastating and fatal .It is to be hoped that improvements in services result in a great reduction in the need for PFD reports in the future.

If you believe that the death of a loved one had been caused by lack of access to mental health services and you wish to being a potential claim, then please do not hesitate to call us on 0116 254 7456, for a no obligation discussion.