Social worker killed herself after fearing she would be discharged from a mental health bed

A failure to manage Charlotte Faux's perception of her discharge contributed to her death, the coroner said

Photo:Garo/Phanie/Rex Features

A social worker with a history of depression took her own life after fearing she would be discharged from Edgware Community hospital against her wishes.

Charlotte Faux, a  social worker from Barnet who had also sung with the English National Opera, had been twice admitted to the mental health ward and had attempted suicide as an in-patient.

Despite this, the 26-year-old was still let out on day release the following week.

‘Unsafe’

Days before she died, she wrote a letter to the hospital advising them she didn’t feel safe to be discharged.

The hospital said although it held a review meeting, it was not planning to discharge but this was not communicated to Charlotte.

At the inquest Coroner Andrew Walker concluded a failure to manage Charlotte’s perception of her discharge contributed to her death.

He said: “Charlotte Faux died as a result of an act of self-harm.

“She was an on-going suicide risk as a result of feelings of hopelessness, impulsivity on her part and the thought in her mind that she would be discharged from the hospital.”

Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust said it accepted the coroner’s findings.

A spokesperson from the trust said: “We have undertaken a detailed investigation into the treatment provided to Miss Faux and instigated changes to our system as a result.

“The trust extends its sincere condolences to Miss Faux’s family and friends.”

‘Inappropriate practices’

The NHS trust has come under fire previously for inappropriate practices such as keeping patients in seclusion rooms when no beds were available.

The lawyer representing Charlotte’s family, Jodie Miller of law firm Slater and Gordon said the coroner’s conclusion highlighted the “errors and mistakes which led to Charlotte’s tragic death”.

‘Psychological state well-documented’

Miller said: “Her psychological state was well-documented and should have been taken into account with the care and treatment she received.”

She continued that although the hospital had claimed during the  inquest it had not been planning on discharging Charlotte, all the evidence suggested otherwise.

The family now plans to take civil action against the hospital and the mental health trust.

For confidential support call Samaritans on 08457 909090

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