Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) has issued an apology to a former employee, Angelina Pattison, for sending her on a suicide prevention course shortly after her son’s suicide. The trust’s CEO, Anna Hills, expressed regret for the treatment of both Ms. Pattison and her son, Charles Ndhlovu. The incident prompted a review of all recorded suicides by the trust since 2017.
In a letter to Ms. Pattison, Ms. Hills acknowledged that she was not adequately supported following her son’s death and apologized for the inappropriate decision to send her on a suicide prevention course, which resulted in an emotional breakdown during the training session. Ms. Hills also recognized that the trust failed to involve Ms. Pattison in her son’s care, as her details were not recorded on his health record and staff did not proactively inquire about involving the family.
The case brought to light allegations that Mr. Ndhlovu’s records were altered after his death to correct errors. However, the trust’s review found that while the records were accessed, no changes were made. The review, which covers multiple suicides under the trust’s care, aims to identify common themes and issues in order to improve suicide prevention efforts.
Des McVey, a whistleblower who investigated Ms. Pattison’s complaint before leaving the trust, disputes the findings of the review, stating that the care plans were created after Mr. Ndhlovu’s death. The trust did not directly address Mr. McVey’s comments or the apology letter in their response to the BBC.
CPFT is currently working with individuals who have lost loved ones to suicide, as well as regional and national NHS colleagues, to refine the terms of reference for the review. They are in the process of appointing an external body and chair to ensure an objective and independent review. The trust remains committed to learning from serious incidents and implementing changes to prevent future deaths.