Woman's death at private psychiatric hospital to be examined at inquest
A grieving mother is hoping an inquest will end her four year wait for answers regarding the death of her daughter in a private psychiatric hospital.
Suzanne Roberts, who had complex mental and physical health needs, died while a patient at The Dene in Goddards Green, West Sussex.
A few days before her death on October 18, 2015, she had been discharged from the Royal Sussex County Hospital where she had been receiving treatment for an arm injury. Suzanne, originally from Knighton, on the Shropshire/Powys border, was also suffering with an acute kidney infection.
Her inquest, which gets underway today was previously delayed while Sussex Police conducted a criminal investigation into the management of The Dene following three deaths of young women – including Suzanne’s - between March 2015 and February 2016. No criminal action was ever taken.
An inquest is now set to examine how and why Suzanne died.
Witnesses from both hospitals will be questioned about Suzanne’s care and treatment over the course of the eight-day hearing.
Juliet Spender, expert public law and human rights at Irwin Mitchell representing Suzanne’s mum, Loraine Prowse, said: “Loraine has been left devastated by the death of her daughter who she continues to miss terribly.
“For four years Loraine has had many questions about what happened to Suzanne and we are now determined to help provide the vital answers she deserves.
“If during the course of the hearing any areas where patient care can be improved are identified, it is important that lessons are learned.”
Loraine said: “Suzanne was an artistic and talented young woman. She became very unwell – both mentally and physically – and she needed care and treatment.
“While it may be four years since I lost Suzanne, time has stood still for me. The pain that I continue to feel over Suzanne’s death is still as strong as it was when she died.
“I know that the inquest and listening to the evidence is going to be extremely difficult but it is something I have to do.
“While nothing can turn the clock back I want to honour Suzanne’s memory by at least establishing the facts as to why she died.”
At the time of Suzanne’s death The Dene was run by Partnerships in Care Ltd. It was taken over by The Priory Group in 2016.
The Dene was the subject of a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary “Undercover: Inside The Priory” which aired in February 2018.
Katherine Stamp, 30, died at The Dene in March, 2015. Naomi Scott, 27, died in February, 2016, in general hospital, after receiving care at The Dene. Their inquests took place in November 2019.
The inquest into Suzanne’s death will be held in Centenary House, Crawley, before Assistant Coroner for East Sussex, James Healy-Pratt.
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