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Family welcomes coroner's recognition of mental health failings

The family of a Deeside man who was killed after being hit by a train have welcomed the Coroner’s conclusion that failings in the mental health care provision contributed to his death.

Christopher Jones with his sister Rachel

5 September 2016

The lawyer for the family of a Deeside man who was killed after being hit by a train, have said that they are pleased by the Coroner’s conclusion that failings in the mental health care provision to Christopher Jones, 26, contributed to his death.

Emma Jones from the human rights team at Leigh Day is representing Mr Jones’ family in a legal challenge against the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) after Mr Jones killed himself.

John Gittins, the coroner for North Wales East and Central recorded a narrative conclusion at the inquest in Ruthin, voicing his concern about delays in the care and treatment of people with mental health issues.

Mr Gittins added that as part of his responsibility to try to prevent future deaths he would be issuing a Regulation 28 letter to the BCUHB.

Mr Jones was discharged from hospital in January 2015 after taking an overdose. On June 15 2015 he was hit by a fast-moving train near Chemistry Lane, Pentre, Deeside, days before he was due to have an emergency review.

In his conclusion Mr Gittins said that there was an “unsatisfactory delay” in the formulation of a care plan and risk assessment and to the “inadequate escalation of concerns at a time of significant decline in his [Mr Jones’] mental health”.

The Coroner also expressed concern about a delay in the introduction of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which was planned for Mr Jones.

Emma Jones, a partner at Leigh Day, said: “My clients are pleased with this narrative conclusion as it recognised the failings in the treatment and care which Chris received.

“They are also satisfied that the coroner recognised the shortfall in the provision of treatments such as cognitive behavioural thearpy.

“Both the family and I hope that through the making of a Rule 28 report to the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board changes in the provision of treatment for people with mental health issues might start to happen.”

A spokesman for BCUHB said: “We have carried out a serious incident review, the findings of which were presented at today’s inquest, and we take on board the recommendations made by the coroner.”

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