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This is Local London
Wednesday 10th April 2013
By Jaber Mohamed
The daughter of a woman who overdosed on anti-depressant medication has said money was put before her mother’s needs after an inquest found authorities made “failures at every level”.
Sheila Agnes McInulty, 63, of Whitchurch Lane in Edgware was suffering with a complex mental health condition which included repeated suicide attempts.
A psychiatrist had recommended extended rehabilitation with the hope that she would eventually return home but Mrs McInulty was released early due to a funding decision by NHS Barnet and Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust.
On February 2, 2011 she overdosed on prescription medications and died in her home.
Her daughter Marie Coulter, of Northwood Way, said it was an example of financial needs being put before clinical needs.
She said: “If I had to describe it in one word I would say I’m disgusted.”
Mrs Coulter said she had spoken to her mother’s social worker and sent emails outlining her fears for her mother, to no avail.
She said: “I felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall and I had a feeling it had to do with money because they weren’t giving us any answers.”
Mrs Coulter said her mother, who was the manager of lost property at London minicab company Addison Lee, was a happy and outgoing person.
She added: “She was a kind, friendly, intelligent and caring person who had lots of friends and was popular wherever she worked or wherever she went.
“The last conversation I had with her was on the phone when I was on my way to Scotland for a funeral.
“My best friend had just passed away. I was quite upset and she was trying to comfort me just like a normal mum.”
According to the inquest report, in July 2009 a performance review identified Mrs McInulty, who was at a care home in Barnet at the time, as one of two patients whose care was over budget.
As part of her rehabilitation programme Mrs McInulty was transferred to Mountview residential care home where her condition improved.
On September 20, 2010 she was subject to a funding assessment, after which it was decided funding for her care would be transferred from the health trust to the Harrow Borough Council as it was mistakenly believed she had social care needs.
The inquest found failures “at every level” in the process.
On November 19 2010, Mrs McInulty was give two days’ notice to leave Mountview despite a review nine days earlier in which a psychiatrist said she presented “an ongoing significant risk” of another overdose.
Clinical staff told the NHS commissioning manager the move was not in her interest, might cause harm and interrupt rehabilitation but the decision was not changed and Mrs McInulty was sent home to an empty house as her husband was working away from home.
Although at first she coped well, her condition deteriorated and she committed suicide the following February.
Mrs Coulter and her family thanked the staff at Mountview Residential Care Home for the care given to her mother while she stayed there and for helping the family through the inquest process.
The Harrow Times is waiting for responses from North and East London Clinical Support Unit and Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust.