There has been a rise in serious incidents at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, including 240 of unexpected deaths and suicides, Lib Dems have revealed.
The figures from NHS England were unearthed by the Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Norman Lamb, and cover serious incidents reported between 2012-2013 and 2014-2015.
Cllr Sarah Osborne Leader of the Lib Dem Group at Lewes District Council said: “470 serious incidents is pitiful and shows Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is still not taking mental health provision seriously. These incidents show the problems are getting worse. “
Norman Lamb said: “This cannot continue any longer. People are literally dying as a result of the horrific under funding. The way that funding gets allocated to mental health always means that it loses out.”
A statement released by the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “Suicide has a devastating impact up individuals and families across the country. Our job is to work in partnership to prevent suicide wherever possible.
“This is a public health issue that involves health and social care working closely with Government, the voluntary sector and local communities.
“When a suicide or serious incident takes place involving someone known to our services, we do everything we can to establish whether there is anything our services can learn from it and do different in future.
“The figures released by NHS England show that we have a high rate of suicides and serious incidents. The geographic area in which we provide mental health care for people includes two areas, which, sadly, have some of the highest recorded rates of suicide nationally.
“We adhere to national reporting guidelines for all deaths and serious incidents that happen within our trust. In reporting an incident to NHS England, we only record ‘suicide’ as the cause of death where this verdict has been reached by a coroner.
“When NHS England introduced changes to their incident reporting last year, they included a category for describing deaths as ‘self-inflicted’. This new way of recording deaths gives the misleading impression that the number of suicides of people known to our services increased from 0 in 2014/15 to 38 in a six month period in 2015.
“We are committed to working with our partners and communities across Sussex, Hampshire and Kent to prevent suicide.
“Last week we supported the submission for Brighton & Hove to become the first designated Suicide Safer City. Led by suicide prevention charity Grassroots this signals the first ever community wide approach to raise awareness and reduce suicides across the city.
“We have also registered our intention with Living Works Canada to become a Suicide Safer Trust. This highlights our commitment to our patients and staff to provide safe and high quality care and to work with our communities to support a reduction in suicides.
“Last year we worked with Grassroots to launch the #StayAlive app. This is a mobile app for people at risk of suicide and offers help and support both to people with thoughts of suicide and to people concerned about someone else. The app can be personalised and has been downloaded thousands of times since its launch and has been cited as life-saving by people who have used it.
“We are leading research into the support families and relatives who have been affected by adult suicide need. We know that instances of suicide are higher in families that have suffered suicide so our director of nursing standards has been working with families across Sussex and Surrey to learn more about the support they received and where the feel more needs to be done.”
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