Inquest told of concerns over psychiatric patient — (Get Surrey)

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Get Surrey

By Jennifer Morris

AN INQUEST into the death of a 20-year-old man just days after his release from a psychiatric unit has heard that doctors disagreed over letting him return to his Ashtead home.

Jonathan Stent’s body was found by children near Ashtead railway station on September 10, 2011.

The former Ashcombe School pupil had been released from the Elgar ward at Epsom Hospital on September 6.

He disappeared from his Ashtead home the next day.

An inquest was opened in November last year but was adjourned to allow the coroner to gather more evidence .

This week’s resumption also heard that a review into Mr Stent’s death by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust had listed aspects of his care that “should have been done differently”.

When giving evidence in November, the victim’s mother, Caroline Stent, said her son had been depressed and was taking drugs, including ketamine.

In 2009 he overdosed twice on prescription medication and was seen by a treatment team. By June 2011 Mrs Stent had become very concerned about her son’s low moods.

She said he took another overdose, and then harmed himself again before being admitted into a psychiatric ward.

She recalled speaking to doctors when the decision was made to discharge him in late August that year.

“I said to the psychiatrist ‘are you satisfied there is not an underlying mental health problem?’. He said yes. I said ‘is there no risk?’.

“He said ‘yes, but there’s no guarantees’.”

On Monday (June 3), the inquest heard evidence from Dr Farhan, one of the two doctors who assessed Mr Stent.

Dr Farhan believed he could validly be retained under section 12 of the Mental Health Act, but his colleague disagreed.

Dr Farhan said: “When I spoke to the patient he was not able to guarantee his safety from further suicide attempts. In my view he was high risk even if he admitted himself voluntarily.

“I did not think that would be appropriate [to discharge him] because he had already absconded before.

“I do not think drugs themselves caused the disorder. I felt he had a major depressive disorder in addition to drug use.”

The inquest also heard from Shahieda Sujee, a service manager from the Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, but who is paid by Surrey County Council.

Mrs Sujee carried out a review into the actions of healthcare professionals who worked with Mr Stent in the months leading up to his death.

She highlighted a number of practices which should have been carried out “according to the guidelines”, but were not.

This included that he was not allocated a “care co-ordinator” until after he had left hospital. Mrs Sujee said she felt Mr Stent’s family did not have significant information about how to approach dealing with him once he was home.

“She [his mother] didn’t realise that if there were any concerns he could have been brought back to the hospital,” said Mrs Sujee.

Mr Stent was identified by police as being a high-risk missing person before his body was discovered by a group of boys three days later.

He had left a note calling his mother the “best mum in the world” and apologising for “all the problems”.

The inquest continues.