THE death of a grief-stricken grandmother who took her own life after being discharged from a mental health facility could not have been prevented, a watchdog has ruled.

Betty Clarke, had been married to husband Alan for 65 years and they had only spent a single week apart when he died in 2017.

Betty suffered a breakdown and was admitted to Mill View Hospital in Hove on Valentine’s Day after telling her family she wanted to end her life.

After being discharged on March 16, Betty, who lived in Oakdene Crescent, Portslade, committed suicide just three days later, leaving her family asking how her death could have been prevented.

But a review of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s care of Betty, conducted by the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman, did not uphold her son Andrew’s complaints.

The Ombudsman senior case worker said in a report: “From what we have seen the discharge decision was appropriate but some things could have been handled better, for example, involvement of the family.

“This has already been acknowledged by the trust through its serious incident report and complaint responses. In addition the trust appears to have taken appropriate actions to improve things for the future.

“We have no way of knowing whether the decision to discharge Mrs Clarke made any difference to the tragic outcome or if Mrs Clarke’s actions could have been prevented if her family had been more involved.

“Following her husband’s death, the trust diagnosed Mrs Clarke with an adjustment disorder (a mental health condition that develops as a result of having to adjust to a particular source of stress, or a traumatic experience) and moderate depressive episode.

“Towards the end of her admission, she was not making suicidal statements.

“It appears that the communication with, and involvement of, Mrs Clarke’s family could have been better.

“However this has already been acknowledged by the trust. It has apologised and taken appropriate steps to improve things for the future. Therefore we do not think that we can reasonably ask the trust to do any more work.”

Betty’s son Andrew said: “We just feel that my mother was considered old and disposable and everyone washed their hands of her.

“We are not happy about this decision, but we have to draw a line under it.

“She would have wanted us all to move on with our lives now.”