Mental health trusts admits liability over death of man after hospital release

Andrew Fleming.
Andrew Fleming.

A mental health trust has admitted liability over the death of a man who took his own life shortly after being released from one of its hospitals.

Andy Fleming, 54, died from multiple self-inflicted stab wounds in 2015 on the same day he was allowed home from Roseberry Park hospital, in Middlesbrough.

Andy's wife Gillian and son David outside Teesside Coroner's Court.

Andy's wife Gillian and son David outside Teesside Coroner's Court.

Mr Fleming, who was married to Gillian and dad to David, 21, worked for the Hartlepool Mail for 14 years as a promotions manager and later as a presenter on Radio Hartlepool.

An inquest last year found a number of issues with the care received by Mr Fleming and the communication from hospital staff to his family.

Now the Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, has made admissions of liability in the case and has apologised to Mr Fleming’s family.

Gillian, of Billingham, said: “Mental health is a huge issue at the moment and I think people need to know a hospital has admitted responsibility for a death. I was aware the care Andy was getting was absolutely appalling.

“They let him come home even though he admitted he tried to commit suicide on the morning he came home.

“They have admitted they made a mistake, that it shouldn’t have happened and have been making changes, but it doesn’t help us because I am still without a husband and David is without a dad, and we are still fighting a compensation battle.”

The inquest heard Mr Fleming, who had battled mental health issues since the age of 17, had made several attempts to take his life in the days leading up to his release.

Elizabeth Moody, director of nursing and governance at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, said “The trust carried out a review of Mr Fleming’s care following his death and we have made changes to the way we work since this sad and distressing incident.

“The trust has made admissions of liability in this case. Our thoughts remain with the family and we are trying to reach an early settlement as quickly as we can.

“As this matter is ongoing, it would be inappropriate for the trust to comment any further other than to express condolences and a sincere apology.”