Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Plunge Man Failed by Trust; Information Not Available to Hospital

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Plunge Man Failed by Trust; Information Not Available to Hospital

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Loraine

THE failure by a mental health trust and other bodies to properly share information about a troubled man contributed to his death, an inquest heard yesterday.

Stephen Heslop, 22, from Marsden, hijacked a taxi at knifepoint and drove off 120ft cliffs at the Marsden Grotto car park in South Shields, South Tyneside, on Boxing Day last year.

Two days earlier, he had taken an overdose of prescribed medication and was taken to South Tyneside District Hospital.

A Deliberate Self Harm Assessment was carried out by a doctor on Christmas Day to determine the best way of managing Mr Heslop's depression.

It was decided he was medically and mentally fit to go home but an independent inquiry into the procedures followed revealed a significant amount of important information about Mr Heslop, from Marsden was not available to South Tyneside Hospital.

Report author Lorne Carlisle, clinical Education Practitioner for Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Mental Health Trust, said: "In my opinion vital information was not available to doctors at the time. It became quite clear during the course of the inquiry that important information, available on an individual basis, was buried within GP reports, within mental health records, probation records and criminal justice records."

Dr Philip Hodes, who had seen Mr Heslop a number of times in the year leading up to his death, said the doctor at South Tyneside had made a "defensible clinical decision", while Mr Carlisle declined to judge the young doctor's decision given the lack of information at his disposal.

Depressed Mr Heslop was in custody for three months at Holme House Prison in Teesside awaiting sentence for dangerous driving until a week before his death.

Mr Carlisle said "significant" information on Mr Heslop, who had various brushes with the law, had been gathered by South Shields probation service. …

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