Mother's shock at son's inquest over lack of mental health improvements

Oliver heywood

Oliver Heywood with his mother Barbara Marshall. An inquest is being held in Norwich into his death. - Credit: Virginia Williams/Archant

The mother of an offshore worker who died while waiting to be assessed by mental health officials for possibly having undiagnosed ADHD has spoken of her shock at a lack of promised diagnosis improvements.

Oliver Heywood died aged 41 on January 19 in hospital, three days after he was found unresponsive at his home in Bramfield Close in Norwich.

The inquest into his death had heard Mr Heywood, a father-of one who grew up in Gorleston, had a problem with alcohol dependence leading to police involvement with him, but he thought the root of his difficulties was undiagnosed ADHD.

Mr Heywood's case was only escalated in the days before his death after his mother Barbara Marshall had emailed relevant bodies and agencies with her concerns over her son's behaviour.

On the third day of the inquest into his death, Area Coroner Yvonne Blake said that in 2019 the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust had told her it would make improvements, such as better communication and in dual diagnosis.

But speaking at Wednesday's hearing Michelle Painter, clinical director at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said plans to create three new dual diagnosis leads in Norfolk had still not happened and an eight-prong training programme, included looking at the safety of people who maybe intoxicated, was still being shaped.

A new IT system was also still in the works to improve integration across authorities.

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On hearing that the measures had not been introduced yet, Mrs Marshall said: "I am utterly shocked and depressed that I am hearing what I am hearing.

"So many people are dying where possibly lives could have been saved by a sharing of information.

"It's just shameful, isn't it?" 

Ms Painter did praise trust staff for their work but told the hearing: "There are inadequacies and gaps in the service."

The inquest heard the mental health trust was still in special measures.

The inquest had been due to conclude on Wednesday, but it had to be adjourned for two to three weeks so a relevant representative from the trust could give evidence, instead of Ms Painter, who works in the West Suffolk Care Group part of the trust.

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