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Health trust admits failing Ipswich woman, 22, who made seven suicide attempts

PUBLISHED: 20:03 03 April 2019

Suffolk Coroners Court in Ipswich Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Suffolk Coroners Court in Ipswich Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

Archant

A mental health trust has admitted failing a woman who tried to take her own life seven times in five years, an inquest heard.

But the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) said it never stopped trying to help Kerry Hunter who was found by her father in her home in Vernon Street, Ipswich, on April 9, 2016, having taken an overdose of prescribed medication. She died in hospital, as a result of the overdose, on May 1, 2016.

Coroner Dr Nigel Parsely heard that despite repeated suicide attempts, one as recently as nine days before she was found by her father, medical professionals at the NSFT allowed her to go home, deeming her capable of refusing support.

In a letter submitted to the court, her father Adam Hunter said: “I went to her house terrified she had done something bad again.

“I let myself in and found my worst nightmare was realised.”

The 22-year-old, who was studying forensic psychology at the Open University, had a history of mental health issues. In 2013, she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

Michael Davies, a former consultant clinical psychologist at the NSFT, met with Miss Hunter in February 2016.

He said: “She would ruminate on negative feelings about herself and her low sense of self-worth. There seemed to be a history of feeling awash with negative emotion.”

Mr Davies noted that although Miss Hunter had a history of attempted suicide and self-harming she did not present as someone “at immediate risk” because she had said she intended to finish her course modules and was not contemplating suicide.

A care plan was devised for Miss Hunter but was not enacted when she refused to engage with services after trying therapies she felt did not work for her.

In the days before her fatal overdose Miss Hunter collected two months of her prescribed medication, a potentially lethal dose.

No alarm was raised because it was collected after two appointments, one with a GP and another through an out-of-hours service which did not have access to medical records.

NSFT medical director Dr Bohdan Solomke said: “The treatment Kerry received from us only came at her times of crisis.

“We failed her but we never stopped trying. It’s not how I would want to treat someone with those needs.”

The inquest concludes on April 4.

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