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Coroner raises communication concerns between GP surgery and private counselling service after death of young occupational therapist

PUBLISHED: 14:35 27 September 2017

Norfolk Coroner's Court in Norwich. Picture: Denise Bradley

Norfolk Coroner's Court in Norwich. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant 2012

Concerns will be raised over the lack of communication between a GP surgery and counselling service after a woman with mental and physical health problems died.

Occupational therapist Danielle Booth, 23, was found dead in the bedroom of her flat on Wellington Road, Norwich, just after 4pm on January 20 by boyfriend, Daniel Gottschalk.

An inquest at Norfolk Coroner’s Court on Wednesday, September 27 heard the former University of East Anglia student suffered with depression, anxiety, bulimia and irritable bowel syndrome.

The 23-year-old - described as “witty and charming” by her parents - was diagnosed with depression in 2016 by her GP.

She had seen numerous medical professionals at the surgery for her mental and physical health issues 12 months before her death, the inquest heard.

During that time Miss Booth, who lost her job at Hellesdon Hospital in January 2016, had taken anti-depressants and private psychological therapy at the Priory Wellbeing Centre in Norwich, according to Dr Clare Shephard.

Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake did not criticise the clinical practices at Miss Booth’s surgery.

But during a narrative verdict, she said: “I’m concerned at the lack of communication between the private counselling service and Danielle’s GP.

“The last mention of a private counselling session was in August 2016. There doesn’t seem to be any communication between the GP and the counselling service.

“I propose writing to the GP and the counselling service asking why there wasn’t any communication?”

Mrs Lake added: “She [Danielle] had a happy childhood...She obviously had mental health and physical problems.”

She had been upset the night before her death and was concerned her long-term boyfriend was going to leave her, which was not the case, according to written evidence from Mr Gottschalk.

He added: “I’m totally distraught at what has happened.”

The inquest heard the loss of Miss Booth’s job was a “crushing blow to her self-esteem”, but her GP deemed her mental health had not deteriorated and was stable, during her last medical appointment on January 10.

Mrs Lake said there were no suspicious circumstances and the cause of death was asphyxiation.

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