Josh Sahota's father hopes death of son at Wedgwood House in Bury St Edmunds would lead to mental health services improving across England
The father of a man who took his own life at a Suffolk mental health unit has said he hoped his son's death would lead to services improving across the country.
Twenty-five-year-old Josh Sahota, of Danehill Road, in Kennett near Newmarket, suffocated himself by putting a plastic bag over his head on September 9, 2019, when he was being treated at Wedgwood House, in Bury St Edmunds, a jury inquest ruled earlier this week.
Malk Sahota, his father, said the jury's conclusion 'substantiated his concerns that multiple serious failings by the trust had led to Josh's tragic death'.
Giving its verdict on Tuesday, after a five-day hearing in Ipswich, the jury said a number of factors had contributed to his death including insufficient staffing and observations, including one to one sessions with the patient, and it stated that during his stay in the unit there had been no psychologist in post.
"It was clear that this was a difficult matter for the jury to be involved in and during the reading of their findings and conclusion by the jury foreman, many were visibly distressed," said Mr Sahota.
"I imagine they were as shocked and upset as we were of not only the number of significant failures they found in Joshua’s care, but also the heart-breaking loss of a lovely young man who had his whole life ahead of him."
On giving their conclusion at the Suffolk Coroner's Court earlier this week, the jury also highlighted inconsistencies in the unit’s policy restricting certain items, including plastic bags. “It was not clearly documented or communicated that a plastic bag was a restricted item for Josh,” it said.
After the verdict he praised the coroner and the jury for what he described as their diligent approach to the inquest and their thoughtful and concise conclusion following the inquest.
And he said as part of his son's legacy he hoped to see 'genuine improvements in the provision of mental health care in England'.
"The coroner’s decision to raise a Prevention of Future Deaths Report to the Minister for Mental Health and Patient Safety as a result of the evidence heard throughout the inquest, I hope, will improve services for patients throughout England," he said.
Nigel Parsley, senior coroner, said Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, which runs the unit, had already made changes in light of Josh’s death, including what he called a completely new care group structure to bring greater leadership to the trust.
A matron had been appointed to the unit to oversee nursing care and treatment regimes and a psychiatrist could now consult with patients without a nurse being present.
A new observation policy was also in place and there had been a review of the policy governing restricted items on the ward.
After the hearing, Stuart Richardson, chief executive at the trust, said: “I want to assure Joshua’s family that we have improved our internal processes following his tragic death, including making sure there is regular, meaningful, one to one time with psychology team members to reduce the chances of this happening to anyone else.”
And he said the trust would study the prevention of future deaths report made by the coroner to see if there was any further action required.