NHS ‘failed to act on family’s fears for their ill father’

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A pensioner was found dead at a Northampton hospital after the NHS failed to act on concerns of his mental health expert daughter and a consultant, an inquest heard.

Northamptonshire coroner Anne Pember recorded a narrative verdict in the death of Bernard Boland, 70, after hearing he was found hanged on December 23, 2012 in his room at Berrywood Hospital, which is run by Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Trust.

His daughter, Lisa Benge, a cognitive behavioural therapist who worked for the same trust, told the inquest she had pleaded with the community crisis team to admit her father 1q8 days earlier as a course of inpatient electro therapy had instantly improved his depressed feelings on several previous occasions.

Mr Boland (pictured), from Welford, was eventually admitted days later but only underwent one course of electro therapy before he died.

Experienced consultant Dr Geraldine D’Souza had recommended that Mr Boland was urgently referred to hospital because he was a high suicide risk after he told the doctor he tried to take his own life a week earlier. But the NHS crisis management risk team overruled her the same day on clinical grounds, which was later backed up by doctors, adding that there were no free mental health hospital beds.

A NHFT doctor told the inquest Mr Boland was admitted to hospital days later and argued that the therapy may not have taken place immediately even if he had been admitted sooner, meaning the delay may not have been significant.

He added that Mr Boland did not appear depressed so was not put on a close watch.

But Mrs Pember said: “I intend to write to the trust chief executive about a number of matters, including the fact the views of the family were not sufficiently listened to .”