The Times - UK (2022-01-24)

(Antfer) #1

6 Monday January 24 2022 | the times


MPs and bereaved families are calling
for an investigation into failures by a
health trust after an analysis found that
since 2016, 369 of its patients had taken
their own lives and coroners had called
15 times for it to improve its care.
Seven of the deaths took place on the
wards of the Sussex Partnership NHS
Foundation Trust, The Sunday Tele-
graph reported.
Coroners repeatedly warned the
trust to take action to prevent future
deaths. They identified failures includ-
ing incorrect discharges and a lack of
supervision of mental health patients.
The family of Beth Tenquist, 26, who
died of severe brain damage in 2019, 18
days after hanging herself at Mill View,
a psychiatric hospital in Hove, said
lessons had not been learnt.
In 2020 a coroner raised concerns
with the trust over the death of Christo-

Families demand investigation

into hundreds of patient suicides

pher Swain, 38, who was also found
hanged in his room in Langley Green
Hospital in Crawley. The coroner said
that during his time there, “no formal
review, care plan or adequate risk as-
sessment was carried out in respect of
his mental health”.
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, the shadow
minister for mental health, said: “The
sheer number of people who have taken
their own lives at the trust is deeply
concerning. I hope regulators and min-
isters will look into this matter and con-
duct an independent inquiry as a
matter of urgency.
“Any inquiry must have the families
of those who died at its heart. They’ve
been waiting years for answers and
have lost faith in the system.”
Jeremy Hunt, a former health secre-
tary who is chairman of the health and
social care select committee, also called
for further investigation. He said: “Be-
reaved families deserve to know whe-

ther vital opportunities to learn lessons
and prevent tragedies have been
missed, and whether there are deeper,
more systemic issues at this trust.”
Sussex Partnership Trust said: “A vi-
tal part of our work involves learning
from serious incidents, listening to
feedback and making the changes
needed to improve patient care and
treatment. We always try to do this in a
way which promotes a culture of open-
ness, honest reflection and action.
“Working closely with our health and
care partners, we are committed to do-
ing everything possible to avoid people
feeling that taking their own life is their
only option.”
The Department of Health and
Social Care said it had no plans at
present to request a specific investi-
gation into patient deaths at the trust
but an inquiry had been established last
year into deaths in mental health inpa-
tient units in Essex. It said: “The Essex

Mental Health Independent Inquiry
will draw conclusions about the safety
and quality of care provided both
locally and nationally to mental health
The department added: “Every sui-
cide is a tragedy and our sympathies go
to the family and friends of those who
have sadly died. It is vital that we do all
we can to prevent suicides. Learning
lessons where things have gone wrong
is essential to ensuring the NHS pro-
vides safe, high quality care.”
The department said suicides in
mental health inpatient settings had re-
duced by almost half over the decade
from 2008 to 2018. It said NHS England
was providing funding to every local
area by 2023/24 to support local suicide
prevention planning. The funding also
includes investment in a national quali-
ty improvement programme to im-
prove safety and suicide prevention in
mental health services across the NHS.

Ben Webster

Insiders at the Oxford college trying to
dismiss its own dean have denied
reports that a £1.5 million deal is on
hand to settle the long-running dispute.
The governing body of Christ
Church, Oxford, has been involved in a
dispute with the Very Rev Martyn
Percy for more than three years.
A group of alumni has proposed that
Christ Church could offer Percy, who is
head of the college and its cathedral, a
£1.5 million “termination” payment in

Christ Church plays down £1.5m deal to end dean dispute

exchange for agreeing to step down and
dropping a tribunal claim against the
college. The proposal suggested the
college could pay Percy’s legal costs.
It is understood, however, that Christ
Church is not considering any such set-
tlement. Instead, its governing body
plans to institute a medical board which
would determine whether Percy was fit
to continue as dean. It is also preparing
for an internal lawyer-led tribunal into
a claim that Percy stroked a woman’s
hair in the cathedral.
It is also understood that Percy will

not consider the proposal unless both
the medical board and internal tribunal
are dropped.
A monetary settlement would also
not be sufficient. An insider said senior
college heads would need to resign and
Christ Church would need to issue a full
apology exonerating him of miscon-
duct. At present, Percy remains sus-
pended and is banned from meeting
students or attending the cathedral.
The woman accusing Percy of sexual
harassment is pursuing a tribunal claim
against the college. Percy denies touch-

ing her. The police and the Church of
England both investigated her allega-
tion and declined to pursue it.
The Charity Commission is calling
for answers from the Christ Church
governing body about the money spent
in legal fees in the dispute.
A Christ Church spokesman said that
“resolution of these complex matters is
most likely to succeed if confidentiality
is respected” and added: “Our hope is
that all parties will engage in good faith
in mediation which is scheduled to take
place later this month.”

Andrew Billen, Kaya Burgess

Carrying a torch Shetlanders recall their Viking heritage at the Celtic Connections music festival in Glasgow. Hundreds of artists will perform digitally and in person

Brexit cut port traffic

Welsh ports have recorded 30 per
cent fall in traffic since Brexit. Ian
Davies, head of UK ports at Stena
Line, told BBC Politics Wales:
“We’ve seen some slight peaks
and troughs, which we put down
to the pandemic. But now we’re
probably in a position to say this
is really the effect post-Brexit of
where we are and slight changes
in the way people move freight.”

Bridge fall charge

Police have charged a man with
causing injury by dangerous
driving after a woman was left in
a critical condition when a car fell
from a bridge and landed on the
A1(M) motorway at Bowburn
interchange in Co Durham on
Friday evening. Hugh Raymond
Holmes, 32, from Spennymoor, is
due to appear at Newton Aycliffe
magistrates court today.

Keep calm and bid

A batch of original “Keep Calm
and Carry On” posters is to be
auctioned after being found in a
study. Although 2.45 million
copies were printed 1939, most
were pulped without use as they
were viewed as patronising. The
six near-mint condition posters
are expected to fetch a combined
£10,000 when sold by Cheffins in
Cambridge on February 24.

Ritchie’s pub in flames

Firefighters were called to the
film director Guy Ritchie’s pub
for a second time in six months
yesterday. The blaze at the Lore
of the Land in Fitzrovia, central
London, was put out in about 40
minutes. Witnesses thought they
could hear fireworks before they
saw the balcony at the back of the
building in flames. Last June a
kitchen fire destroyed the roof.

Officer hurt in crash

A police officer was seriously
injured in a crash with a
motorcycle driving the wrong
way on a motorway. The male
officer, who has not been named,
was airlifted to hospital. Police
patrols had been responding to a
report of a stolen motorcycle on
the M25, which was closed in
both directions near junction 3
for Swanley after the collision at
4.05pm yesterday, Kent police
said. A 26-year-old man has been
arrested on suspicion of offences
including dangerous driving.


Solve all five clues using each
letter underneath once only

1 Klaxon (4)

2 Adhere (5)

3 Refinement in manners (6)

4 Microsoft operating system (7)

5 Roland-Garros tennis event (6,4)

Quintagram®No 1220

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