Inquest hears York woman who died by suicide had no contact from mental health team for three months

56-year-old Frances Wellburn from York Credit: Family photo

An inquest into the death of a North Yorkshire woman who took her own life has heard she went three months without contact from her mental health team during the height of the pandemic.

Frances Wellburn from York should have had weekly calls from the Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust during March 2020 and May 2020.

Her sister told a coroner in Northallerton their family's grief has been made worse by lapses in her care.

The 56-year-old former NHS manager had been having psychotic episodes and was admitted to Cross Lane Hospital in Scarborough in September 2019.

She was later cared for by a community mental health team who were checking in with her once a week.

However, at the height of the lockdown in March 2020, the inquest heard she went three months without contact. 

Frances Wellburn

Today (22 March), her psychiatrist said she should have had more monitoring - regardless if there was a pandemic or not.

The inquest also heard there were concerns around her medication, which Frances had told her care co-ordinator she wanted to stop in May 2020.

In an email, her psychiatrists advised against it but her family claim that information was never passed on to her.

Frances' mental health deteriorated and in July 2020, whilst back at home in York and under the care of a community mental health team, Frances took her own life.

During the inquest, Frances' sister Rebecca shared a photograph of her sister, saying it was important the Trust saw what she was like when she was not ill.

Frances Wellburn

She told the court: "Losing Frances to suicide has been traumatic.

"The errors and lapses in her care have added an additional layer of pain, knowing that the outcome could have been different if the Trust's own policies and standards had been applied."

She added: "You will hear from the Trust actions have been taken but we are not comfortable lessons have been learnt."

The Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust has previously told ITV Tyne Tees "significant changes have been made".

They carried out a review following Frances' death and said they shared the actions and findings with her family.

The inquest will continue in Northallerton tomorrow (23 March).