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Sussex mental health trust’s apology over care errors
A mental health trust has apologised to the family of a man who hanged himself.
It is understood that Patrick Whiting, 43, was told just days before being found dead that there was no room to treat him at the Woodlands mental health unit in St Leonards.
He had been released from the same facility just three days previously.
Dr Shakil Malik, from the Sussex Partnership Trust, made the apology on the first day of a two-week inquest adding that “errors” had been made.
The trust’s clinical director for adult mental health services, said: “We regret that our usual high standards were not always followed in Mr Whiting’s care. Errors were made.
“We have apologised unreservedly to Mr Whiting’s family.
“We have made some changes to the way we assess risk, share information and support patients and their families when they are discharged and receive care at home.”
The first day of the inquest at Hove Crown Court was told that Mr Whiting, of Highcroft Villas, Brighton, had suffered from a variety of mental health problems.
In particular he struggled with delusions and depression. The jury heard that he battled with a voice in his head he called “the controller” which told him to do certain things including attempt suicide.
His condition worsened in the spring of 2012 with events coming to a head on March 21.
The jury heard that his twin brother, Andrew, had contacted police at 8.46am that morning to report his worrying behaviour.
A member of the public called again at 9.06am to report Mr Whiting acting in a strange manner outside a nearby school.
Two officers attended and Andrew informed them that his twin was mentally ill and had been suicidal in the past.
He added that he was staying with him and he was due to take him to see a doctor later that day.
As a result the officers decided not to section the troubled man.
But less than an hour later, Andrew called 999 again with his brother perched on the edge of a steep railway embankment.
Detective Sergeant Niall Moloney, said: “Andrew hardly had an opportunity to speak when he said that he had jumped off the wall.”
Mr Whiting was airlifted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital but miraculously survived.
DS Moloney defended the decision of his colleagues not to section Mr Whiting less than an hour before he jumped.
He said that given that he was near his home, with his brother and had a doctor’s appointment later that day, they made the “most practical, pragmatic and right decision for the individual at the time”.
The inquest heard that following the 100ft fall, Mr Whiting received treatment from mental health staff before being sent to the Woodlands unit.
He was released in mid-May and was found hanged at home on May 19.
The inquest continues.
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