Consultant psychiatrist says Norwich mother should have been admitted to hospital before her death
PUBLISHED: 16:06 23 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:52 23 March 2018
Courtesy of Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors
A consultant psychiatrist said the set up of mental health services across the country was “terrible” at an inquest into the death of a Norwich mother.
Dr Robert Higgo, an expert clinical psychiatrist, gave evidence at Norfolk Coroner’s Court in Norwich this morning, into the death of 36-year-old Katherine Rought-Rought.
Miss Rought-Rought, who was born in Bury St Edmunds but lived in North Park Avenue, Norwich, was found dead by her partner in the bathroom of their home on June 1, 2016, at around 8pm.
The inquest, which began on Tuesday, previously heard the medical cause of death was asphyxiation due to strangulation. There were no suspicious circumstances.
Mother-of-one Miss Rought-Rought had suffered with mental health problems since she was 18-years-old, had been an inpatient at Hellesdon Hospital, and was first in contact with mental health services since 2001.
MORE: Mother-of-one found dead hours after being discharged from mental health crisis team
Today the jury heard Miss Rought-Rought had not been seen by a psychiatrist since May 16, 2016.
Her treatment was moved to the Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment (CRHT) team and while giving evidence Dr Higgo criticised how all over the country the separation of mental health care into different teams meant no one person had an overview of a patient.
And he said this meant the psychiatrist who had worked with her previously could not make recommendations over her care.
He said: “That’s not a good way to do things. On that day who is her responsible consultant psychiatrist? Well technically whoever the CRHT consultant psychiatrist is, but in practice no one really.
“A consultant psychiatrist should have been fully involved in the discussions. They might not have had to see her personally but should have had all the information and been in a position to take an overview of it.”
He added: “Mental health services have changed substantially since I have been in psychiatry. Back in the day all new referrals were seen by a medical doctor, a psychiatrist. Now people are more seen by a non-medic and more never see a medic.
“It’s part and parcel of how services work. Doctors are thought to be not necessary as much as they were or are busy doing other things or other practitioners have those skills.
“I think what happened in [Miss Rought-Rought’s] case was not unusual.
MORE: Mother who died hours after being discharged from crisis team had made progress on ECT
“If you’re asking me if I think it’s a good model of service delivery, no, I think it’s terrible.”
And he said he felt Miss Rought-Rought should have been admitted to hospital - and would have been had she seen a psychiatrist.
He said: “Really what we wanted was someone to do things, say ‘right we’ve tried a month of home treatment, not admitting her, not detaining her, is it working?’. Should she have been admitted? In my opinion yes she should have been.”
He added: “I would hope that consultant would say ‘enough is enough, she should be admitted to hospital’.”
The inquest continues.
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