Emily Formby represented the family of Hannah Allum at the inquest into her death which took place in Huntingdon last week.
Hannah was an in- patient at Fulbourn Hospital, Cambridge when she took her own life on 22 January 2016.
Hannah had a history of mental illness. She had been a gifted dancer and also a student at Cambridge University but was forced to leave after a year due to mental health difficulties.
Hannah had been admitted to Fulbourn Hospital on a number of occasions following attempts on her life, the last being in December 2015. The inquest heard that during the course of this last admission Hannah had progressed to being granted unsupervised leave from the hospital, during which time she had purchased materials to end her life.
The Inquest also learned that during the night while staff did hourly checks, they only looked through the window of her door rather than entering to ensure she was alive and well. Her mother, Rosalind Allum, said her daughter was suffering from psychosis and “should never have been left unsupervised”.
As a result of her death, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust have accepted their observation policy was not adhered to and have made considerable changes to the patient observation policy both in terms of training staff and delivery.
Coroner Belinda Cheney said although staff failed to check up on patients properly, which was a breach of hospital policy, it would only have taken around eight minutes for Hannah to take her own life.
The inquest returned a verdict of suicide. The family has released the following statement:
“The last few days have been unimaginably hard to hear the evidence depicting the last few months of our dear Hannah’s life
For us, reliving our worst fears that Hannah might take her life and our endless efforts to make those caring for her recognise those concerns, has been, at times, impossible to bear.
Whilst we accept the Coroners findings and thank her for a truly thorough investigation, we will always feel that Hannah was failed by the trust.
We understand from the evidence heard that certain things are now different as a direct result of Hannahs death, but this is too little too late for our dear Hannah or for us.
We want Hannah to be remembered for her beauty, intelligence and wit.
We are all truly devastated by the loss of Hannah, our shining light.
We will always miss her influence on our lives.”
Emily was instructed, on behalf of the family, by Sharon Allison of Ashtons Legal.
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