More specialist staff will improve treatment for mental health patients

PUBLISHED: 18:11 17 June 2019 | UPDATED: 18:11 17 June 2019

Nigel Parsley - HM Senior Coroner for Suffolk Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Nigel Parsley - HM Senior Coroner for Suffolk Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY


Recruitment of specialist staff to help provide a high level of mental health treatment is under way following the death of a young Ipswich woman.

Coroner Nigel Parsley asked the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) to ensure patients gain access to Dialetical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) in a Prevention of Future Deaths report following an inquest into the death of Kerry Hunter.

He recorded a conclusion of suicide after Miss Hunter, of Vernon Street, died on May 1, 2016, having taken an overdose of prescribed insulin medication.

Mr Parsley said DBT was available by self-referral in Suffolk - but Miss Hunter's borderline personality disorder (BPD) made her unlikely to engage with services.

He said: "This being the case, I am concerned that the proposed requirement in the NSFT plan (which will require a BPD sufferer to agree to a transfer to an Integrated Delivery Team before being placed onto the new service) may prevent some patients gaining the access to the treatment they clearly need."

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Dr Bohdan Solomka, medical director at NSFT, said the trust was responding to the coroner's concerns.

Dr Solomka said : "I would like to take this opportunity to say again how sorry I was to hear about Kerry's tragic death and to offer my sincerest condolences to her family and friends.

"It is essential that we take every opportunity to learn from this terrible loss and act in a way which ensures improvement. We are, therefore, grateful to the Senior Coroner for Suffolk for issuing a Prevention of Future Deaths report and are in the process of responding.

"Dialectical Behaviour Therapy [DBT] isn't available in NSFT to the level we would wish to offer people with borderline personality disorder, and we have been working with our commissioning partners to address this. Consequently, we will be piloting DBT as part of our Personality Disorder Strategy (PDS).

"The training for DBT and other ways of managing personality disorder has started, and recruitment for specialist staff has also begun. We will spread the training and additional staffing across the whole Trust.

"The PDS also includes proposals to intervene earlier, improving access to the right treatment at the right time."

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