Calling for an Ashleigh's Law to Protect Staff; MP Backs Family's Plea for New Legislation for Mental Health Workers

Article excerpt

Byline: Sara Nichol

ANORTH East MP has called for an "Ashleigh's law" after the death of mental health worker Ashleigh Ewing at the hands of a psychotic killer.

Paranoid schizophrenic Ronald Dixon was not properly monitored and had stopped taking his anti-psychotic medication when he attacked the 22-year-old, stabbing her 39 times.

The psychology graduate had been sent alone to his flat in Heaton, Newcastle, to deliver a letter from her employers Mental Health Matters demanding payment for a debt.

Dixon attacked the Northumbria University graduate with such savagery that he broke three knives, leaving the broken blade of one embedded in her chest.

At an inquest this week, coroner David Mitford ruled that there were "major failings" in the management by her employers, particularly that they hadn't carried out a risk assessment on the killer for three years.

He also criticised the fact that crucial information, such as Dixon's violent past and that he'd recently stopped taking his medication, was not communicated through the organisation.

Although changes were made within the organisation, Ashleigh's family have called for Government legislation to be reconsidered.

They said that, at the moment, systems are reliant on individual corporate policies and practices but they want mandatory policies and practices to be enforced nationally.

They also want legislation surrounding mental health patients coming off their medication to be addressed.

Now, their MP Stephen Hepburn has backed the family and written to the Social Care Minister in a bid to get the Government to act.

He said: "I back the family 100%. The results of the inquest have come out and I think it's absolutely shocking that organisations are allowed to run on this basis.

"I have written to the Social Care Minster today outlining the tragic case of Ashleigh. …


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