Under-pressure mental health staff visited man on the day he died, inquest told

PUBLISHED: 21:15 18 December 2017

Norfolk Coroner's Court, where the inquest into the death of Gary Morris has been taking place. Photo by Simon Finlay

Norfolk Coroner's Court, where the inquest into the death of Gary Morris has been taking place. Photo by Simon Finlay

Archant Norfolk Copyright

A Norfolk man who was found dead on Christmas Eve had been visited by under-pressure mental health professionals earlier that day, an inquest has heard.

The senior mental health nurse who visited Gary Morris just hours before his death told the inquest: “Because of the pressure of workload that day, I did not spend as long as I would have liked looking at Mr Morris’s notes.”

And because she was the only senior nurse on shift she had to leave Mr Morris with a less qualified colleague while she dealt with urgent phone calls.

Norfolk Coroner Jacqueline Lake heard how on the afternoon of December 24, 2016, the body of Mr Morris was found by his wife Gail in the bedroom of the family home in Watlington. He had suffocated.

Paramedics were called, but the 54-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

The inquest at Norfolk Coroner’s Court today heard how the former security services manager at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn, had previously attempted to end his life three times and had been in care of both the community mental health and crisis resolution teams of the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust.

The coroner heard evidence from Mrs Morris and mental health professionals who had treated Mr Morris, both in the community and in hospital, including professionals who visited him on the morning of December 24.

Mr Morris was discharged from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on December 20 following an attempt to take his own life on December 15.

He was discharged with the view that members of the crisis resolution team would visit him at his home.

Rachel Player, the mental health nurse who visited Mr Morris along with another member of the team at his home on the morning of Christmas Eve, told the inquest she was the only senior mental health nurse on shift.

Ms Player also explained how due to staff shortages she had to take the A&E liaison mobile phone to the meeting with Mr Morris, which meant that twice during the meeting she had to step out of the room to take a telephone call, leaving Mr 
Morris with a less qualified colleague.

The inquest was adjourned until Wednesday, December 20..

The Samaritans are available to talk by calling 116 123.

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