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Police boss to investigate policing and people with mental illness

Generic image Credit: PA

A major consultation into policing and people with mental illness is being launched across Kent today.

It's thought a third of police time is now spent working with people who have mental health issues. The survey launch coincides with World Mental Health Day. Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott is asking people which policing priorities matter most to them.

The findings will help shape his Police and Crime Plan for 2017-2021.

Mental health is not only an issue I care deeply about, but also one that has become much more important within the police and criminal justice system. It is estimated that a third of police time is now spent dealing with people who have a mental health issue and it is in everyone's interests to ensure there is an effective response."

– Matthew Scott, Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner

The survey is available online or paper copies can be requested by calling the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner on 01622 604343.

The deadline for responses is 2 December 2016.

Medics drive to improve children's mental health

A drive to improve mental health care for children and young people is getting underway across Kent.

Doctors and health workers will be touring towns, meeting young people who've had treatment, to get their ideas and feedback.

Six workshops for children and young people over 11 who have used CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services) are being held next week in Sittingbourne, Gravesend, Folkestone, Margate, Maidstone and Tonbridge.

There’s also a drop-in session for younger children with their parents in Ashford.

Grieving sister: 'They have failed monstrously and should resign'

"They've failed monstrously and should resign" - the words of a woman whose sister killed herself after being discharged from a psychiatric unit run by Southern Health.

Jo Deering from New Milton suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and took an overdose after being sent home to look after her mother, who had dementia.

Now, as the NHS Trust faces fresh criticism from the Care Quality Commission, Maureen Rickman has been voicing HER concerns about patient safety and the management culture. Rachel Hepworth spoke to her.

Jo Deering was sent home to care for her 89 year old mother Credit: Maureen Rickman

Jo Deering died in 2011, aged 52, months after being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

She'd been discharged from Waterford House in New Milton, after treatment for paranoid schizophrenia, and sent home where she was the main carer for her 89-year-old mother, who had dementia.

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust admitted it could have made better decisions about her care.

Maureen continues to demand answers about her sister's care Credit: Maureen Rickman

Southern Health released this statement in relation to the case.

The team supporting Jo Deering were deeply saddened in 2011 to learn of her death, and we take this opportunity to apologise once again to her family.

Following Jo’s death in 2011 we carried out an investigation to fully understand the circumstances and whether we could have done anything differently.

We recognised that Jo had a role as a carer and provided community support to help her with this. We also found our decision-making process about granting leave, and how we communicated this with Jo and her family could have been better.

Robust actions to learn from this incident were fully implemented at the time.

We have met with and apologised to Jo’s family and have been in regular communication since 2011, making every effort to reach a meaningful resolution.

– Dr Lesley Stevens, Medical Director from Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust was issued a warning notice yesterday by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following an inspection in January.

It's been told to significantly improve protection of mental health patients.

Last year an independent report blamed a 'failure of leadership' for failing to investigate the unexplained deaths of hundreds of patients.

The trust said it was "completely focused" on tackling the concerns.

Julie shares her experience to help others with mental health problems

She wants everyone to know that mental illness doesn't have to be a life sentence.

Julie Roberts is anxious to let everyone know how she, personally, has recovered.

Julie, who lives in Winchester has been taking part in a pioneering scheme aimed at helping survivors, and improving psychiatric care for other patients.

She's been talking to Rachel Hepworth.


  1. Tom Savvides

Less use of police cells for mental health patients

Almost eight hundred people with serious mental health issues are put in police cells in Sussex every year, even if they haven't committed a crime. That's more people than anywhere else in the country. Now a new scheme between the police and the NHS means the majority of people experiencing mental health problems are now being assessed and treated in specialist hospitals. Tom Savvides reports from Crawley with interviews from the Chief Constable of Sussex Giles York, Vincent Badu from the Sussex Partnership NHS Trust and Home Office Minister Karen Bradley.

New online men's mental health screening helping thousands

Thousands visit the Heads Up campaign's website Credit: Heads Up

A mental health campaign in Buckinghamshire has reached over 160,000 people in four weeks.

"Heads up" was started by the county council to help men who might be feeling feeling low, struggling with stress or money problems or feeling anxious. People can take part in online screening to assess how they might be feeling.

To visit the website go to:

More than 1,000 deaths "not investigated by Southern NHS Trust"

Connor Sparrowhawk drowned in the bath at Slade House in Headington Credit: ITV

Breaking: a report says that the unexpected deaths of more than 1,000 people have not been investigated by the NHS. Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust has been blamed for a "failure of leadership". The investigation was carried out by NHS England. The report was commissioned after 18-year-old Connor Sparrowhawk drowned in a bath following an epileptic seizure.

We would not usually comment on a leaked draft report. However, we want to avoid unnecessary anxiety amongst the people we support, their carers and families as their welfare is our priority.

There are serious concerns about the draft report’s interpretation of the evidence. We fully accept that our reporting processes following a patient death have not always been good enough. We have taken considerable measures to strengthen our investigation and learning from deaths including increased monitoring and scrutiny.

The review has not assessed the quality of care provided by the Trust. Instead it looked at the way in which the Trust recorded and investigated deaths of people with whom we had one or more contacts in the preceding 12 months. In almost all cases referred to in the report, the Trust was not the main provider of care.

We would stress the draft report contains no evidence of more deaths than expected in the last four years of people with mental health needs or learning disabilities for the size and age of the population we serve.

When the final report is published by NHS England we will review the recommendations and make any further changes necessary to ensure the processes through which we report, investigate and learn from deaths are of the highest possible standard.

If you are directly affected by this issue, call this NHS number: 0300 003 0025.”

– Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

We commissioned an independent report because it was clear that there are significant concerns. We are determined that, for the sake of past, present and future patients and their families, all the issues should be examined and any lessons clearly identified and acted upon.

The final full independent report will be published as soon as possible, and all the agencies involved stand ready to take appropriate action.

– NHS England
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