The widow of a former Rugby League player and youth coach, who died after suffering from mental health problems, has expressed her hope that the lessons from her husband’s death continue to be learned.
Stephen Gartland, who was 45, was found dead in Castleton, Rochdale, last August after a battle with depression. Stephen, known as ‘Garty’ to his friends, had spent time under the care of Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust and treated in hospital in the months before his death.
As well as being father-of-two boys, Bradley and Liam, Stephen was a former player for Rugby League teams Rochdale Hornets, Oldham Roughyeds and Swinton Lions. Following his playing career, he moved into youth coaching and helped develop some current Superleague players.
In early 2016, Stephen began to show signs that he was suffering from mental health issues. He became quieter, withdrawn and suffered weight loss. In May, Stephen sought medical advice and he continued to receive treatment up until his death on 19 August, 2016.
An inquest into his death was held at Rochdale Coroner’s Court at The Phoenix Centre, the coroner ruled there was no issues of neglect with the care the Trust provided for Stephen.
However over the course of the inquest, the findings of an Untoward Incident Report, conducted by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust in the wake of Stephen’s death, were heard.
The coroner did reiterate a number of care and service delivery issues that Untoward Incident Report had highlighted as areas that the senior management team at Birch Hill Hospital needed to address. The report identified a number of influencing factors:
- - Lack of focus on suicidality as a more central theme across the care pathways
- - Lack of therapeutic one on one time by the registered nursing team on Moorside ward at Birch Hill Hospital
- - Environmental disruption
- - Lack of a personal and structured discharge plan
- - The Home Treatment Team should have included the clinical lead in the decision to discharge Stephen from all services.
His widow Joanne, 46, who still lives in Rochdale, said:
In a statement, Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust said: