Times Report - Trust Failures Result in Tragedy

Leonie Millard
Leonie Millard

Published: April 12th, 2022

7 min read

The Times newspaper has reported today on the sad case of Matthew Caseby. The 23 year old escaped by jumping over a fence at the Priory Hospital in Woodbourne, and was killed by a train during a psychotic episode.

Matthew's care has come under scrutiny, because it was known that vulnerable patients could easily abscond from the Priory Hospital and Matthew had wanted to leave. The trust had not undertaken an assurance visit at the hospital for three years, to carry out checks on the quality of care that was being provided. They only resumed in 2021. Matthew had been taken to hospital in Oxfordshire on the 3rd September having been seen running along railway lines. He was detained under the Mental Health Act and sent to the Priory on the 5th September, and died two days later.

The Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Trust commissioned the care for Matthew at the Priory Hospital.

Forty two days following the death of his son, Richard Casey, his father called the NHS body who had organised the care and was told that he was still alive. In addition to an alleged breach of their duty of care, there was a serious failure in communication and record keeping. The error was handled insensitively and added further upset to the bereaved family.

At the Inquest, the NHS expressed regret and apologised. Fiona Reynolds, chief medical officer at The Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Trust, stated; "I am appalled and have apologised. It should not have happened. Mr Caseby should not have been subject to that and I am very sorry".

It transpires that staff at Forward Thinking Birmingham thought that he was alive and receiving care. The NHS had not contacted the family about the death of their son, and the reason given by a senior member of the governance body was "I thought the Priory were handling that".

Matthew had suffered during lockdown with his mental health, he was a history graduate and personal trainer who had not required treatment previously for his mental health.

There is a clear demand for mental health services throughout the UK, particularly coming out of the pandemic. There is a standard of care that patients should expect of the trust, and confidence in the NHS is damaged. This is not an uncommon situation where a private hospital is referred a client for treatment. There have to be standards that apply across the board and checks that those standards are being implemented. There must be clear communication and consistency.

NHS told man his son was alive 42 days after he died | News | The Times

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