Suicidal man 'let down' by system
12:30pm Friday 21st August 2009
A GRIEVING son said his father should have been cared for at a Basingstoke psychiatric hospital to stop him from killing himself.
Bernard Jeenes, 77, was found dead in his kitchen, in Cayman Close, Popley, Basingstoke, on June 7, after taking an overdose of anti-depressants and hanging himself.
His son Mark, who found his body, told an inquest into his death that his father had begged to be admitted to the mental health unit at Parklands Hospital after a suicide attempt the week before he died.
Now he is calling for changes. Mr Jeenes, a 33-year-old decorator from Barbel Avenue, in Riverdene, told the inquest at Alton magistrates court: “I feel like my father has been let down and if he got the help he wanted he would still be here today.”
He said a week before he died, his father was admitted to Basingstoke hospital after taking an overdose of anti-depressants. He then asked to be transferred to neighbouring Parklands psychiatric hospital.
He told the coroner: “That should have got alarm bells ringing, but the doctor just said he would be better off at home. My father said he wanted to kill himself.”
He said his father had emerged “a new man” after a spell at Parklands in 2002.
However, the dead man’s psychiatric nurse, Chris Dale, told the inquest Mr Jeenes had been referred by a GP after he had phoned Parklands directly.
He said: “I saw him several times before his death and he didn’t tell me about wanting to go to Parklands. He mentioned he had some suicidal thoughts but that he had no plan or intent to take his life. He told me he wanted to avoid Parklands, and do things on his own.
“The last time I saw him, he was more positive.”
Recording a verdict of suicide, North East Hampshire coroner, Andrew Bradley, said: “Clearly what Mr Jeenes was sharing with his son was different from what he was sharing with Chris Dale.
“The concerns were there, the bells were ringing but the assessment pushed him out the Basingstoke hospital door.”
After the inquest, a spokesman for Hampshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Parklands Hospital, said staff who knew him had been deeply saddened by the death of Mr Jeenes.
An initial review into the circumstances had concluded that the right clinical decisions were made.
The spokesman added: “A further more detailed review is being carried out. It is important to note that the coroner, in full possession of all the facts, did not make any recommendations for the trust to implement.”
He said if a clinician wanted a patient admitted, a bed would be found.
Mr Jeenes’ story has come to light just weeks after The Gazette reported the inquest of Terry Thomas, aged 54, of Kenilworth Road, Winklebury, who died after jumping from a bridge on Ringway West A340 on April 1.
His widow Jane told an inquest he had been turned away from Parklands Hospital the day before his death, despite a failed suicide attempt.
Following that story, Gazette reader Hailey Newton Roast, aged 35, of Kings Furlong Centre, off Wessex Close, Basingstoke, contacted the newsdesk to speak of her experience.
She said: “I have manic depression and have tried to commit suicide a few times. Each time I was told I didn’t meet the criteria to be admitted to Parklands.
“The mental health services here are terrible and I’ve written several times to complain.”