Mental health team criticised after death of popular Eastbourne man

The death of an Eastbourne builder has been blamed in part on mental health teams.

Friday, 7th August 2020, 9:29 am
Leigh Quicke SUS-200608-101901001

At an inquest into the death of Leigh Quicke on Wednesday, August 5, a coroner criticised the mental health service after an urgent referral for the suicidal man to be seen was downgraded to routine.

Due to that, said East Sussex coroner James Healy-Pratt, 36-year-old Mr Quicke took his own life.

Mr Healy-Pratt placed on record his concern over the lack of help given to Mr Quicke by the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs mental health services in Sussex.

Eastbourne Town Hall (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-190425-155054008

He said, “Mr Quicke was feeling depressed, he was feeling suicidal and the decision by the trust to downgrade his suicidal risk which had been an urgent referral was causative of his death.”

The inquest heard Mr Quicke had been taking painkillers for shoulder pain but had also seen his GP Dr Martin Writer in the days before his death and told him of his low mood.

Dr Writer said in a statement to the inquest he was so concerned about Mr Quicke that he made the urgent referral for him to be seen by the mental health services team.

A report from the trust said the team assessed Mr Quicke – without seeing him – and decided to downgrade it from urgent to routine.

Mr Healy-Pratt said, “They never even had a meeting with him but – and for reasons not adequately explained by the trust – unilaterally downgraded him which meant he would be seen within 28 days instead of urgently.”

Days later – on September 30 last year – Mr Quicke was found dead close to the home in Port Road, Hampden Park, that he shared with his mother Jane and her partner Michael Curtis.

He had hanged himself.

Mrs Quicke described her son as fun-loving and somebody who had many friends.

In the weeks after his death, a football match was held in his memory with money raised for charity.

Recording a verdict that Mr Quicke had taken his own life, Mr Healy-Pratt said, “The failure by the trust to do something was a causing factor in the death of Mr Quicke.”

A spokesperson for Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said, “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Leigh Quicke’s family.

“As a Trust we are committed to providing safe, effective, high quality care.

“We take the coroner’s comments extremely seriously and will take them on board as part of our ongoing work to continue improving our services and the care we provide.”

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