Psychiatrist tells inquest he was not asked to intervene in vulnerable woman’s care

A consultant psychiatrist has told an inquest into the death of a vulnerable young woman who killed herself after being refused admission to hospital that he was not asked to intervene by a nurse who told him she was upset by the decision.

Dr Kwame Fofie was giving evidence on the second day of a fresh inquest into the death of Sally Mays, 22, who died at home in Hull on July 25 2014 after she was turned away by the Humber NHS Foundation Trust crisis team earlier that day.

The original 2015 inquest into Miss May’s death was quashed by the High Court last year after the emergence of a conversation in a car park on the day she died between Dr Fofie and one of Miss May’s care co-ordinators, nurse Laura Elliott, which had been withheld from the original hearing.

On Tuesday, Ms Elliott told the court how she was upset when she approached Dr Fofie for “support and validation” shortly after she had been left “frustrated, angry and upset” because the crisis team had rejected her recommendation that Miss Mays should have been admitted.

She said members of the crisis team had been “horrible” and “incredibly unpleasant” to her and her client.

Ms Elliott said she was just looking for support from a friend and the encounter with the consultant was not a “clinically relevant conversation”.

She said: “I did not feel it was what I would consider to be a clinical conversation.

“I hadn’t asked Dr Fofie to do anything.”

She said: “There was no reason, I felt at the time, to tell anybody.

“It was a conversation about me – my feelings.

“I did not feel there was an expectation to tell anyone.”

Dr Fofie told the inquest how Ms Elliott was clearly upset when she approached him in the car park.

The consultant told the inquest: “This was a quick conversation in a car park with a colleague who was trying to ventilate.”

He said: “She attempted to vent and offload.”

He added: “She did not ask me for a specific solution.”

Dr Fofie was asked by his barrister, George Thomas: “Did nurse Elliott say anything in the car park that afternoon that might have indicated that there may be something amiss with the clinical decision not to admit.”

The consultant replied: “No.”

Senior coroner Paul Marks has told the inquest he will be examining whether the conversation amounts to a “further missed opportunity” to prevent Miss Mays’ death.

He told the court that, at the end of the October 2015 inquest he concluded: “The failure to admit her to an inpatient psychiatric bed constitutes neglect and this neglect bears a direct causal relationship to her death later that evening.”

Miss Mays’s parents, Andy and Angela Mays (pictured), from Hull, have spent years battling for a full investigation into their daughter’s death and their campaign culminated in the High Court ruling in December last year.

Bridget Dolan KC, representing Mr and Mrs Mays, told the High Court that after Ms Elliot had discussions with two consultant psychiatrists, details of the car park conversation were not revealed to an internal NHS trust investigation nor the senior coroner.

The inquest is expected to conclude on Wednesday.

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