Yarmouth mental health hospital criticised

A GREAT Yarmouth mental health hospital came under fire this week for allowing a woman her husband said should have been detained for her own safety to walk free from its care and take her own life.

Devastated Robert Lochrie, 63, said he begged staff at Northgate Hospital to section his wife Karen Rouse, 55, after she made a number of attempts to take her life while suffering from bi-polar depression.

Tragically, Mr Lochrie found the mum-of-two hanged at her Oxford Avenue home in Gorleston on November 29 after frantically trying to contact her, but getting no reply.

But her death was the culmination of a number of previous attempts since being diagnosed with bi-polar 25 years ago.

Only weeks before, she had tried to end her life by turning on the gas on her kitchen appliances and overdosing on anti-depressants she had been prescribed.

And in June 2006, she hit the headlines but miraculoulsy escaped serious injury when she was taken to hospital after driving her car off Gorleston cliffs and on to the promenade below, the car ending up on its roof.

Tearful Mr Lochrie said her death came after he had asked the hospital’s staff to section her. She had made previous attempts to take her life and had been prescribed with large amounts of medication, which she would often take at once.

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The Cantley Sugar factory employee said she had been in and out of the Northgate Street Hospital and had just completed a four-month stay.

He said: “She told the staff there she was all right and they said ‘all right, you can go home now, we will send you home.’

“They gave her a week’s supply of various drugs, but she needed to be sectioned. She had to be kept in there and given the proper medicine to get her mind straight.”

Mr Lochrie, who lives at the Colonel H pub in Nelson Road Central, from where he can more easily get to work, said they had two grown-up children, Patrick, 22, and Alastair, 19, and two grandchildren – Carson, one, and Cohen Aldred-Lochrie, two – who were all devastated by her death.

He added: “She was brilliant. She was the most generous person and would give you her last penny. She would say ‘you go, love, I’ll buy that.’ We are all devastated at her death.”

Debbie White, associate director of operations for Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I would like to extend deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Karen Rouse. We are in touch with Karen’s family and, in line with national guidelines, we are conducting a review of the care provided.”