Lowestoft woman’s tragic death prompts mental health trust to look at confidentiality procedure
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A mental health trust is to give extra consideration to its patient confidentiality procedures following the death of a 26-year-old woman.
An inquest into the death of Jacqueline Boulton heard that her parents had not been informed of an unsuccessful suicide attempt by their daughter a week before she was found hanging at the family home in north Lowestoft.
Following her death, Jacqui's father David Boulton said he and his wife Pimporn would never have left their daughter alone had they known how seriously ill she was.
The couple had been away for 10 days before Jacqui was found dead on September 11 last year.
During the inquest in Lowestoft yesterday, assistant coroner Yvonne Blake read out a report prepared by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) following her death.
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She said, although the NSFT could break patient confidentiality rules in exceptional cases, Jacqui's case did not fit the criteria for this.
She said the NSFT also warned that a policy of breaking confidentiality would alter the therapeutic relationship it had with its patients.
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However, she said, in the light of Jacqui's death, the NSFT had drawn up an action plan advising staff to give extra consideration to whether it was appropriate to breach patient confidentiality and inform a patient's carers or family of their treatment.
Reading from the report, Ms Blake said it was unclear whether it would have been possible to prevent Jacqui's's death if the team treating her had broken her confidentiality.
Jacqui, herself training to be a mental health counsellor, suffered with depression and eating disorders, as well as anxiety and a mild form of self-harm.
The inquest heard that she had previously taken two overdoses - one in 2012 and another in 2013.
On September 5 she had taken an overdose of drugs and alcohol and was taken to James Paget University Hospital by her boyfriend, where she was seen by a senior mental health practitioner.
Jacqui made it clear she did not want anybody to know what had happened so she was seen daily at Carlton Court in Carlton Colville, rather than at the home she shared with her parents.
She attended regular appointments but on September 10, she cancelled her appointments saying she was going away to a festival for the weekend.
She had been prescribed Fluoxetine and said she would begin taking the drug once she returned.
That evening, Jacqui ended her relationship with her boyfriend and was found dead by her parents the next day.
There was no trace of drugs or alcohol in her body.
Ms Blake concluded that Jacqui had died by suicide.
Jacqui had enjoyed photography, modelling and ran her own fashion and beauty YouTube blog and had made a 20 minute video, in which she talks about the illness and its impact.
Following the inquest, Mr Boulton thanked the police, coroners service and the NHS for everything they had done. He said he felt mistakes had been made in his daughter's care but he did not blame the NHS and would continue to work with them to improve mental health services.
He also paid tribute to his daughter, who enjoyed photography, modelling and ran her own fashion and beauty YouTube blog, and said: 'She was an incredible young lady, really so caring, so thoughtful, non-judgmental and so understanding. She was able to help others in similar situations, and I didn't know how much to be honest, but she wasn't able to help herself at the end of the day.
'As a family we will learn to live again but we will never get over it. We have lost the best of us.'