Mandy Park’s Case against Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust Settles for £260,000

We have previously reported on the tragic case of Hannah Groves who died on 22nd October 2012 when she took her own life due to serious failings in care by Southern Health Trust.

Hannah, a ‘Grade A Student’, was just starting the second year of her studies at Southampton University when she suddenly presented with acute anxiety and made suicide bids.

Both she and her mother, Mandy, contacted the local Mental Health Trust, over a period of 10 days, from that point, leading up to Hannah’s death, practically begging for help. This was met, however, with complete indifference by the Mental Health team.

Whilst police, paramedics and A&E doctors who had contact with Hannah, immediately regarded and reported her as “high risk”, their attempts to get Hannah help were also thwarted by the Trust at every turn.

On the day of Hannah’s death, when the police contacted mental health services, they were told that they knew all about Hannah and that she was a “…waste of space”. The Trust’s practitioners assessed her again and discharged her from place of safety detention at Southampton Police Station. Three hours later she had taken her own life.

This settlement brings to a conclusion long standing legal proceedings which were listed for a final hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice next month.

That part of the proceedings which dealt with Hannah’s claim under the Human Rights Act was settled some time ago.

The ongoing case was brought by Mandy, as a secondary victim, based on her finding Hannah having caused her nervous shock and severe, now chronic, PTSD.

Nick Fairweather, who had conduct of the case throughout, commented as follows:-

Prior to Hannah’s short illness, then death, everything was going very well in Mandy’s life. Her children were in secure employment and at university, she was in a relationship, doing well at work and looking to start a university course. Her whole world was then turned upside down by Hannah’s death.

She has been unable to work since and remains severely unwell with profound PTSD and all the daily agonies and symptoms that this brings.

No amount of money can ever start to be even a gesture towards compensating a parent for the needless loss of their child.

I hope, however, that these monies will take some of the pressure off Mandy and make life easier for her going forward into the future where I know she is determined to campaign for better mental health services and to improve the understanding of mental health issues, particularly amongst the young. I wish her well with this and pay tribute to her strength and courage in bringing these proceedings.”

Mandy herself commented:-

Whilst I am pleased that this long hard legal battle is over, I am now determined to campaign around the failings that we experienced with the Trust and wider mental health issues generally.

I shall be writing to the Trust seeking assurances and clear evidence that all the changes that they promised the Coroner would take place have been made.

I will campaign for safe houses to be provided local to patients when no NHS beds are available and for a better understanding of mental health issues generally in the young and those caring for them.

I am happy to talk about my experiences at local colleges and universities.  

Hannah was my world and I will fight to my last breath to campaign in her name and memory. If just one person can be saved it will be worth it.”