‘Failure Of Care’ For Suicide Boy

A report on the suicide of a teenager in April 2005 has found serious failure of care by the health service. Danny McCartan, 18, had a history of depression and self harm. The trust has apologised.

On the day he hanged himself, he wanted to be admitted to hospital but he was refused, partly because a specialist nurse said the suicide risk was low.

His family has said they do not want an apology from the trust, they just wanted to see changes to the system. “An apology doesn’t matter at all to us,” his father Danny said.

“We were not in it for an apology. We want the recommendations implemented to the full and we also want to be involved with the implementation of the recommendations.”

The independent panel found a litany of problems in his care, including staffing shortages. There were also errors of communication, confusion and delay, said the panel.

The review found he was treated by a fragmented and disjoined health service and simply “fell through the cracks”.

Bernie McNally, director of children’s services at Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, said the trust apologised for its failings. “There is no doubt that the services failed Danny. There is no doubt that child and adolescent mental health services at that time were not good,” she said.

“It is well accepted that young people should not be in adult wards. They are not good places, they are not good environments for young people to be in.”