Family will have to wait for answers over son’s death at mental health unit

An inquest into the death of a teenager receiving treatment at a mental health unit in Prestwich will be delayed “several months” after the NHS trust was ordered to produce a report on the incident.

Charlie Millers, 17, died five days after he was found unconscious in his room at Prestwich Hospital on December 2, 2020, just weeks after 18-year-old Rowan Thompson died while undergoing treatment in the same unit. A few months later, Ania Sohail, 21, also died in the unit, making her the third young man to die after being treated at Prestwich Hospital in nine months.

Now Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH), which runs the site, has been ordered to commission an “external report” on the three deaths by NHS England. A pre-inquest review held at Rochdale Coroner’s Court today, March 8, heard that the inquest into Charlie’s death could be delayed “by several months” due to this report.

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Assistant Coroner Lisa Judge told the court: “The hearing was aborted as a result of an indication from the NHS England that they wanted to conduct an investigation. I am afraid I am not in a position to identify an expected date for the report.” to complete.”

The court heard that a notification of Charlie’s death was sent to the CQC, NHS England and care commissioners at the time, but the report has so far been ordered as NHS England made the decision to investigate the incidents after a letter. of her mother Sam and her legal representatives requested an independent review. Paul Spencer, representing GMMH, explained that he did not know how long the report would take, but anticipated that it would be “several months” before it was completed.

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At the hearing, a number of statements and medical records were requested from healthcare providers involved in Charlie’s care prior to his death, while living with his mother at Old Trafford, and the coroner requested that they be presented to the court and to the family in April. The full investigation into Charlie’s death should have started last week, February 28, in front of a jury.

Sam Millers with a photo of his son Charlie
(Image: Media MEN)

Postponing the inquiry until further notice, Ms Judge said she would not be able to hear the full inquiry between May and August due to personal commitments, but said it was “highly unlikely” that NHS England would finish the report before her return. The report will cover three cases at Prestwich Hospital, believed to be the deaths of Rowan, Charlie and Ania.

An inquest into Rowan’s death is scheduled to take place at Rochdale Coroner’s Court in June this year, but the hearing may need to be delayed to allow the report to be completed if it is not finished by then. A guard dog previously said that he was “very concerned” about the safety of people using the services at GMMH after a damning report from inspectors found that there weren’t always enough nursing staff and bank or agency workers used on the site weren’t always sufficiently trained.

The INQUEST charity, which campaigns with families of people who have died in the custody or care of the state, wrote to CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, in September to demand further action, after working with Rowan and Charlie’s. families about their care.

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Rebecca Titus-Cobb, a lawyer representing the families of Rowan and Charlie in their respective investigations, had previously said at a hearing into Rowan’s death that there were “systemic issues regarding the observation of patients in the unit,” a concern shared by both families.

Speaking after the hearing, Charlie’s mother, Sam Millers, said: “I’m glad it was delayed because it gives us more time to put the evidence together and have more time to put everything together. If it had gone ahead, I think it would have been half”. -Heart with missing statements.

“I’m okay with it being delayed because it’s for the right reasons. I wish it was all done and finished, but if I have to wait 15 years for Charlie to get justice, then I have to wait.”

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