York woman died after mental health staff failed to lock down

A YORK woman has taken her own life following lapses in her mental health care during the first lockdown, an inquest has heard.

Frances Wellburn was not visited by the community mental health team after the lockdown began in March 2020 and suffered a relapse in May.

The 56-year-old, who suffered from psychotic depression, was found dead by police at her home in Main Street, Fulford, in August 2020 after her family raised the alarm.

Coroner Jonathan Leach, who has described Frances as an ‘independent, intelligent and resourceful’ woman, today said a review after her death revealed lapses in her care, but it was not possible to say whether these had contributed to or caused his death.

Frances’ sister Rebecca told the press afterwards that for 55 years Frances had lived a “full and active” life, but in her last 10 months she had suffered from a severe bout of depression. psychotic.

“There’s every reason to believe that with the right care, she would have recovered from this,” she said.

“Frances had indeed started her recovery in early 2020 and instead of building on that, she had no contact with her mental health team.

“We don’t believe his relapse in May was inevitable. It seems clear that this was related to her stopping the medication during the three month period that she had no contact with services.

“I am pleased that the coroner considered these events as part of the inquest. The significant gaps in care are an essential part of understanding the series of events that led to his death.

She said she hoped the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health care in York, recognized it could have done more to support Frances’ recovery and prevent her tragic suicide.

Elizabeth Moody, director of nursing and governance for the trust, said: “Our thoughts are with Frances’ family and friends during this incredibly difficult time. We remain deeply sorry for their loss.

“Providing the best possible care to the people we support is the most important thing we do, and we have worked hard to make improvements following our own review of Frances’ tragic death in 2020.

“We have shared our findings with Frances’ family and plan to work together to support learning and improve our community mental health care.”

She said the improvements included:

• The development of a caregiver forum to improve the experience of caregivers

• The splitting of two community mental health teams in York and Selby into four teams in September 2020, to provide better operational and senior clinical practice oversight, increased capacity for workload management and clinical supervision Staff.

• Training on the importance of the documentation standard, especially with regard to the assessment, management and recording of clinical risks

• The introduction of practice development practitioners to support quality standards of care

• Refreshing staff knowledge of the operational policy on early intervention in psychosis and the criteria and process for accepting referrals.

Contact York Samaritans at www.samaritans.org or telephone free: 116 123

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