Beds, Herts & Bucks

Sam Grant death: Mental health services 'risk' lives

Man sitting holding head in hands. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A coroner said young people would remain at risk of suicide unless mental health services were improved

A coroner investigating a teenager's suicide has warned there is a risk of further deaths unless action is taken.

The body of Sam Grant, 16, was found by his sister at their home in Milton Keynes in November 2018.

He had told his GP he was suffering from irritability and anger, but an NHS child mental health service said he did not meet its criteria for treatment.

The trust which runs it said it had improved its referral process and gives more advice on alternative services.

The teenager's GP told an inquest there was a lack of "lower level assistance" for young people.

The doctor referred him to the local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, which decided he did not meet its threshold of moderate to severe issues.

Doctors had not been made aware that the 16-year-old was being supported by a charity, having been referred by his school.

'Tragic circumstances'

The inquest was told the school did not share information with GPs as it no longer had medically trained staff on site, while the charity said it maintained the confidentiality of its patients.

A spokeswomen for the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust said: "Prior to Sam's death, we had already started to make improvements in our referral process.

"This means we speak to more young people or parents/carers before we turn down a referral and have increased the signposting and advice we give to referrers about alternatives."

Coroner Elizabeth Gray, who investigated Sam's death after recording it as suicide earlier this year, said there was a "risk" of future deaths and information sharing "should be a priority".

A Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group spokeswoman said: "We are very hopeful improvements in the referral processes will mitigate against tragic circumstances such as this happening in the future."

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