Kent

Callie Lewis: Suicide after 'gross failure' by healthcare trust

Callie Lewis Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Callie Lewis had mental health issues which required medical attention

An inquest has found a "gross failure" in the medical care of a woman with autism contributed to her suicide.

Callie Lewis, 24, from Dover, Kent, was found dead in Cumbria after going missing in August 2018.

An inquest in Maidstone found a "direct" link between her death and the shortcomings, which included a lack of autism awareness and a failure to make contact when she missed appointments.

Kent and Medway NHS Trust said it had learnt lessons since her death.

The list of errors included a failure to ensure her case was looked at when a member of staff went on sick leave, a failure to reassess her risk of suicide and a failure to pass relevant information about her on to colleagues.

Jurors said there was a combination of individual and systemic failures, including the high caseloads of the community mental health team.

There was a lack of clarity and consistency around recording risk assessments, the jury found.

Sarah Lewis said her daughter was a "spirited, determined and exceptionally intelligent young woman".

She had been "badly let down by not receiving the treatment, care and intervention she needed to keep her safe at this critical time", she said.

Deborah Coles, of the charity Inquest, which supported Ms Lewis's family, said: "Too often families with a lifetime of knowledge on the needs of those with autism or mental ill health are ignored.

"Instead mental health and public services rely on rushed assessments and little to no knowledge on such vulnerabilities."

Mary Mumvuri, executive director of nursing and quality for Kent and Medway NHS Trust, said it has overhauled the way it was "monitoring people who do not attend appointments " and was working to improve awareness of autism among staff.

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