Norwich Castle Mall suicide: Family to sue over psychiatric care

Matthew Dunham Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Matthew died at Castle Mall, Norwich

The family of a man who took his own life are to sue a mental health trust over delays in his care which they claim contributed to his death.

Matthew Dunham, 25, fell to his death at Castle Mall shopping centre in Norwich in May last year.

An inquest in September heard he faced a month-long wait to see a specialist after describing suicidal thoughts.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust said it was deeply saddened by Mr Dunham's death but would not comment further.

Mr Dunham, of Norwich, had first contacted the trust in February last year and by April was talking about suicide, his family said.

He was referred to a specialist team on 25 April, but the appointment was not until mid May.

He died two weeks later.

'Warning signs'

Coroner William Armstrong concluded he died of suicide while suffering a mental health disorder and while receiving mental health services.

He criticised the trust for its "fragmented and uncoordinated" approach.

Mr Dunham's mother and stepfather, Donna and Ian Ramsey, of Spixworth, near Norwich, are yet to put allegations to the trust but said they believed he would have survived had he been seen sooner.

Mrs Ramsey said: "I'm proud that he went and got that help, but there were just so many failings on their part. It just wasn't linked together.

"The warning signs were there and people picked up on it, but it wasn't passed on to the people who could have helped him. It was too much of a delay."

Image caption Ian and Donna Ramsey said Mr Dunham's care was "disjointed"

Their solicitor, Ben Ward, said: "The case is simple: No reasonably competent practitioner would have not provided Matthew with earlier intervention and treatment for his psychiatric issues he was facing.

"Had earlier intervention taken place, the likelihood would be that his suicide would not have taken place.

"The main issue is not about money, it's about exposure and making other people understand the issues facing psychiatric services."

Andrew Hopkins, acting chief executive at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said: "The trust remains deeply saddened by the death of Matthew Dunham and I would like to reiterate how sorry we are for his family's loss."

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