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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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'He begged for help that never came', wife tells inquest

A health trust boss has admitted measures to stop suicidal patients walking out of hospital don’t go far enough.

David Hagan photo
David Hagan

Related: Widow’s anger after husband walked out of Carlisle hospital and took his own life

And the devastated wife and parents of a father-of-five who killed himself have condemned the lack of action to prevent his death.

Dr Denis Burke, a director at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, insists a raft of new policies have been put in place since David Hagan walked out of the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle in June 2010.

Mr Hagan, 34, of Silloth, a plumber, was later found hanged in nearby woods at Engine Lonning. His wife Abigail Hagan told an inquest in Carlisle yesterday how Mr Hagan had been “let down by the system”. She said: “David begged for help which never came.”

The hearing earlier heard how staff were powerless to stop Mr Hagan leaving the hospital. He had been admitted the night before his death on June 28 after being found in the woods by his father Michael, after drinking alcohol and taking prescription drugs. It came 12 days after he had made a failed suicide attempt.

Dr Burke, the trust’s business unit director responsible for medicine and emergency medical care, said new policies had been introduced following Mr Hagan’s death, but he admitted that procedures under the Mental Health Act to detain high-risk patients in acute wards didn’t go far enough.

Mr Roberts recorded a narrative verdict, saying there were two areas where different decisions might have affected the outcome, including the failure of a doctor who saw Mr Hagan following a previous suicide attempt to write to his counsellor at First Step, and the fact that the mental health staff and acute nursing staff were both waiting to hear from each other about making an assessment on Mr Hagan after he had been brought into hospital prior to his death.

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