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Working group reviewing Coroner’s recommendations following Inquest into the death of Christopher Burrows 26 March 2013

Hon David Anderson MHK - Minister for HealthThe Department of Health has established a working group which has already commenced a review of the recommendations made by the Coroner following the Inquest into the death of Christopher Burrows. The group is being led by Leonard Singer MHK, Member for Mental Health Services, who will report back to the Minister for Health, David Anderson MHK.

Mr Singer said:

“On behalf of the Department, I would again like to express our sincere condolences to Christopher’s mother and family. The Coroner has delivered a very detailed analysis of the events leading up to Mr Burrow’s death as well as eight specific recommendations. The Department clearly needs time to analyse the findings, and I am leading a working group to rigorously examine the points raised by the Coroner and his recommendations.

“Work has already begun, and it’s clear that a great deal has already been achieved over the past 18 months to improve services in relation to these specific points, but more needs to be done. We want to offer the best possible services for the people of the Isle of Man and the Mental Health Service has a strong culture of continuous improvement and undergoes regular self and external review.”

The Minister said:

“I too would like to put on record my sincere condolences and sympathy for Christopher’s family. The working group has already met and assessed the Mental Health Service’s current position in relation to the Coroner’s recommendations, with some encouraging results in terms of progress already made.

Leonard Singer MHK, Member for Mental Health Services
Leonard Singer MHK, Member for Mental Health Services
“I think it’s fair to say that treating and caring for those with mental health problems, especially where that problem is long term and at times severe, can be an extremely challenging job. We have a set of caring and dedicated practitioners who each day have to deal with those who self harm or have suicidal thoughts, and staff therefore find themselves having to make delicate judgments and balance a patient’s safety with their right to self determination. As the Coroner himself noted, this is an ‘unenviable task’. The Mental Health Service currently has a case load of approximately 2,700 patients with conditions ranging from mild to severe and I remain confident that in the majority of cases the service does a truly excellent job in helping and supporting service users to cope with or overcome what can be debilitating conditions. But we continue to look to improve services and will robustly review the Coroner’s recommendations.”

Dr Tim Byrne, Clinical Director of the Mental Health Service said:

“The Department has robust policies and procedures in place, but we continuously review these to adapt to changes in best practice and clinical knowledge. We will give very detailed and thorough scrutiny to the Coroner’s comments to ensure that we can learn lessons from this tragic incident.”

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