Healthcare Inspectorate Wales Publishes Report on Pembrokeshire Homicide

Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) has today published a detailed report following a review of a homicide carried out by mental health service user Jarvis Ford in Pembrokeshire in May 2009.

The report highlights concerns in relation to the adequacy of the care and treatment provided, including the following:
• There were shortcomings in the care and treatment Mr Ford received during his engagement with mental health services in Pembrokeshire.
• The arrangements for the transfer of Mr Ford’s care from Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust to South Pembrokeshire Community Mental Health Team were less than optimal.
• Insufficient regard was given to Mrs Ford’s role as a carer for her son.
• There were significant support and resource issues facing the mental health practitioners working in the Narberth area.
• The care and treatment provided to Mr Ford by Hywel Dda Health Board was not sufficiently robust.
• Carers and family members had to engage in a frustrating and cumbersome process to contact various practitioners within the social and healthcare teams, and communication between these teams was also inefficient.
• Processes for accessing emergency mental health assessment and care were inadequate and burdensome.

Penny Cram, Hafal’s Criminal Justice Lead, commented: “Problems with communication – both between social and healthcare teams, and between professionals and families – are often cited as contributory factors in reports on homicides committed by people with a mental illness. While reports often dwell on the importance of communication what we really need to see is more decisive action to deal with this key issue.

“Hafal’s Members – people with serious mental illness and their carers – believe that four actions are needed:

“First, we need to see a rationalisation of mental health teams so that instead of having several specialist teams we see a single community team.

“Second, we also need a real joining-up of health and social care services: the distinction between the two services may be significant to health and social care professionals, but it is of less interest to patients and families who are more concerned with the overall service they receive.

“Third, the new Mental Health (Wales) Measure states that secondary mental health patients must have a written care plan. This provides an opportunity to ensure that patients do receive a joined-up, comprehensive service in the future. But this will only be the case if regulations which are currently being worked on clearly cover what should be set out in the plan. If practitioners are left to determine what is covered in each individual plan then inconsistency will remain and important areas will be neglected.

“Finally, families usually know best – carers of people with a mental illness should be recognised as a key source of information on a patient’s well-being.”

To read the report, please click here.