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Care Quality Commission Report: Mother’s death highlights care system failures - 13 Apr 2012

Government inspectors reporting on the support for a new mother who killed herself in West Yorkshire have expressed concerns about failings in the system.

A report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – which centres on outpatient support by Fieldhead Hospital in Wakefield – has identified several failings in the system following an investigation prompted by the death of Joanne (Joe) Bingley in April 2010.

Former nurse Joanne Bingley, who was known to her friends as Joe, threw herself under a train in Huddersfield two years ago, 10 weeks after giving birth to a daughter, Emily, at the age of 39.

Mrs Bingley had been trying for a baby for a long time before she was successful and became severely depressed when she had problems feeding Emily.

Although the report does not name her or go into any details of her case, it expresses “concerns” about the keeping of care records to inform decision-making and about training in “perinatal mental health disorders” – meaning mental health arising from pregnancy and birth or pre-existing.

 On the training issue, the Commission’s report concluded:

“Because the planned training in relation to perinatal mental health disorders is insufficient and is being delivered by trainers who lack experience in this area of work, there are risks that the Trust’s staff will not be sufficiently equipped to safely meet the needs of this specific service user group.”

Yesterday Mr Bingley said that, “Two years after his wife’s death, patients are still being treated by staff with no specialist training or experience in perinatal psychiatry, a breach of NHS guidelines.”

“As no patients were consulted in this report one wonders if mums suffering from postnatal depression and their carers and families are told that staff are not qualified in this specialist area.”

He added: “People wonder why I am so angry, dismayed, confused and passionate when still the NHS fails to follow legislation and care standards that result in over 30 mums every year dying avoidable and unnecessary deaths.”

Following his wife’s death Mr Bingley set up the Joanne (Joe) Bingley Memorial Foundation, a charity dedicated to improving treatment for women with post-natal depression.

-  Yorkshire Post – 13/04/2012