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Man’s death prompts review of Norfolk and Suffolk mental health care services

PUBLISHED: 09:12 05 June 2015 | UPDATED: 19:08 05 June 2015

Blythe Furness was found dead at the home of his grandparents

Blythe Furness was found dead at the home of his grandparents

ANNIEK

A fresh tribute has been paid to a 22-year-old who was found dead at his grandparents’ rectory home.

Blythe Furness’ grandfather, the Rev Barry Furness, described him as a “lovely boy, with a lovely social network of friends who valued family life”, 
following an inquest into his death.

Mr Furness, who suffered from bipolar disorder, battled with bouts of depression, anxiety and hypomania after a breakdown in 2012.

At an inquest yesterday, Norfolk Coroner’s Court heard the “outgoing” man had been living with his grandparents in Honing when he died by suicide.

Prior to his death he had been receiving treatment from the Early Intervention Service at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and the family had seen an improvement in his condition.

However, they had become increasingly frustrated with the lack of communication received from the trust.

The hearing heard how Mr Furness was able to mislead staff into believing he was well and would often attend consultations alone.

The family said yesterday that carers should be able to attend consultation sessions with adult patients.

Mr Furness said: “Blythe couldn’t make sensible decisions about his own healthcare.

“There was not enough opportunity for us to speak to healthcare professionals.”

Following his death, the NHS Trust carried out a full investigation, making a number of recommendations.

Mr Furness said: “I’m pleased to see the recommendations. We feel there is a large number of deficiencies in mental health care in Norfolk and we are pleased that these have been addressed at the inquest.”

Assistant coroner Nicholas Holroyd recorded a short narrative verdict, saying: “Blythe took his own life while suffering from a mental health illness.”

Recommendations

An internal investigation carried out by the Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust made a series of recommendations including:

• Improvements in maintaining records – including the implementation of a new database ensuring the management of records is safer and easier to share between practitioners.

• Introducing audits on five cases every month and regular audits by team leaders on supervision notes.

• Improving the links between service users, carers and staff by actively being part of the Triangle of Care system - a quality standard that helps organisations demonstrate their commitment to the three parties involved.

• The Trust’s Early Intervention Service has created a Friends and Family Pathway where every family member or carer is provided with an information pack about services and expectation of care when a relative is referred into a mental health service.

• Confirming the need for the Norfolk Suicide Prevention Group.

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