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Health Care To Mentally Ill Man Who Died Below Par: Coroner

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Feb 15 NZPA - Communication between the various parties in the health system dealing with a mentally ill Masterton man who committed suicide was below par, says Wellington regional coroner Ian Smith.

Garry James, 45, a farm labourer from Masterton, died in hospital three days after the suicide bid in May last year.

Mr James had a history of mild chronic depression since a motorbike accident and was on anti-depressants. He became distressed and had suicidal thoughts because his wife of 19 years was leaving him.

Mr James had been by his doctor, a psychologist, a counsellor and the mental health unit at Masterton Hospital.

In his ruling, released today, Mr Smith said there appeared to be a common thread of differing opinion as to the expectation of mental health care Mr James received.

It was clear that Mr James did receive mental health care and assessment but communication between the various parties appeared to be below par and was not satisfactory.

He urged the health service that when telephone calls could not be made with the patient or an appointment missed, it required a physical attempt to attend the patient on a one-to-one basis.

He asked the Wairarapa mental health services to review communication protocol with a patient.

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