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'Missed observations' before death of teenager at Norfolk mental health hospital

PUBLISHED: 06:36 08 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:06 08 August 2019

The former Huntercombe Hospital at Buxton    Picture: Archive

The former Huntercombe Hospital at Buxton Picture: Archive

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Concerns have been raised at an inquest hearing about the care of a teenager who died after being treated at a private mental health hospital in Norfolk.

Mia Titheridge, 17, was found unresponsive in her room at the former Huntercombe Hospital in Buxton near Aylsham on March 19, 2017.

The teenager was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital but died later that day.

A pre-inquest review at Norfolk Coroner's Court on August 7 heard the medical cause of death was hypoxic ischemic brain injury as a result of ligature compression.

Detective Inspector Matt Dyson, from Norfolk Police, who was at the hearing, said evidence could be heard about "missed observations" on Miss Titheridge.

William Chapman, who was representing the teenager's mother, Victoria Titheridge, said the Care Quality Commission (CQC) should be an "interested party" in the inquest. Mr Chapman said: "Observations might have avoided [Mia's] death."

He asked for the scope of the inquest to be extended to include comments from the CQC.

A JustGiving page was set up after her daughter's death by Miss Titheridge's mother.

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In it she said the years leading up to her daughter's death were "truly awful and lonely" for the teenager and her family.

She said: "What help was finally offered was neither enough or the correct treatment. Mia for the last year and half spent her time sectioned in adolescent mental health units across the country.

"This did not help her and perhaps with earlier intervention the outcome could have been very different.

"Adolescent mental health in particular requires so much more awareness, funding and change to the system to catch these children young before they fall."

The pre-inquest review also heard that a serious case review into Miss Titheridge's death had been carried out by the North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children's Board.

Senior coroner Jacqueline Lake said: "They [the board] have asked the report not to be discussed until after the inquest."

She said a jury inquest would take place on November 18. The Huntercombe Hospital in Buxton closed down in December 2017 but the Huntercombe Group still runs hospitals in the UK.

A spokesman for Huntercombe Group said: "Due to patient confidentiality we are unable to comment on individual cases.

"The purpose of an inquest is to enable a coroner to fully understand the circumstances around a patient's death. These cases are always tragic and our hearts go out to the friends and relatives who are left behind.

"We always comply fully with the process of an inquest, and closely liaise with all parties so that the coroner has all the information they need to investigate a death thoroughly. "The highest priority for us will always be the health, safety and wellbeing of the people in our care."

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