THE FAMILY of a woman who died after throwing herself in the River Test have criticised an under-fire hospital trust who they say failed her.

Doris Cranmer’s family say lessons need to be learned by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, who they say did not listen to their concerns over the mental state of the 69-year-old from Romsey.

The trust is currently being monitored by an external organisation in the wake of a damning report which said the deaths of hundreds of patients with mental health issues were not properly investigated by the trust.

During the inquest into Mrs Cranmer’s death, her family claimed the trust could have done more to prevent her taking her life.

Winchester Coroner’s Court heard how Mrs Cranmer from Nightingale House was found dead in the River Test by police on October 7. It was the same spot where disabled pensioner Deborah Milliken took her life in November 2014.

An inquest into Ms Milliken’s death revealed that she had begged for help as she was struggling to cope with her degenerative illness and told mental health workers she was suicidal. In her case Southern Health, whose care she was under, was criticised by the coroner for ‘fobbing’ her off .

The inquest into Mrs Cranmer’s death heard from GP, Dr Simon Tricker, who said Mrs Cranmer suffered from bipolar disorder and was on anti psychotic drugs, she was sectioned voluntarily on July 7 and taken to Melbury Lodge mental health unit in Winchester and discharged in September.

She also suffered from side effects from taking an anti-psychotic drug, after being discharged, the court heard.

The inquest into Mrs Cranmer’s death heard she was regularly seen by carers from NHS Southern Health Foundation Trust and that a staff member had noted she had suicidal thoughts. a statement from carer Meliza Greary who visited Mrs Cranmer on October 5 and 6.

She said Mrs Cranmer told her she wanted to end her life which she recorded and passed on to her manager.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Sanjana Nyatsanza, who had previously assessed Mrs Cranmer, did not see her after she was discharged from hospital, but said the cause of her decline was likely to be a urine tract infection.

However, the family of Mrs Cranmer argued that her mood change was due to her medication and said she should have been taken off the drug. They claimed they repeatedly tried to ring the trust with their concerns.

One family member said: “I think lessons need to be learned all around, the communication has been terrible for us to phone nine times about our concerns, I can see there is a lot of people talking in circles and not facing up to the truth that there was not a crisis care package for her and that was one of the reasons for her not being here today.”

In response Dr Nyatsanza, broke down in tears, apologising for the lack of feedback.

She said she was only made aware of Mrs Cranmer suicidal thoughts after she had passed away.

Dr Nyatsanza said:“I can only apologise on behalf of our team for lack of feedback. Our endeavour would have been to listen to feed back from them.

“I want to express our heartfelt condolences to the family, Doris’s loss is a shock to all of us, she had so much to offer and was such an articulate woman.”

Senior coroner Grahame Short recorded a conclusion of suicide and said that he couldn't make any specific recommendation but agreed communication was lacking with the family but that, in itself, would not have prevented Mrs Cranmer taking her own life. Following the inquest a spokeman for the Trust said they had carried out an investigation and shared their findings with the family. Susanna Preedy, Head of Nursing and Allied Health Professionals at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “We were deeply saddened to hear about Doris’ death and offer her family and friends our sincere condolences.

“Immediately following her tragic death we carried out an investigation to fully understand the support offered to her in the months leading up to her death and whether we could have done anything differently.

“We also made contact with her son to express our sympathy and offer him the opportunity to contribute to the investigation. The results of the investigation, which include learnings about our communication and decision making processes, have now been shared with him and a face to face meeting has been offered.

“Where there is any concern about the circumstances surrounding a person’s death, the Trust will always either investigate or support an investigation by another health or social care body. We need to learn from such tragic incidents and look to improve our care wherever possible.”

“It is good that the Southern Health team see there are lessons to be learnt,” he added.